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Why Gardening Is Healthy Exercise for Seniors

By Carol White, 9:00 am on June 6, 2016

Gardening is often thought of as just another pastime for seniors who want to add beauty to their living spaces. However, the physical exercise involved in tending a garden has tremendous health benefits for the elderly. Prescott hourly care professionals share a few reasons why your aging loved one might want to take up this healthy hobby.

Increases Dexterity

Seniors with arthritis often experience joint pain and stiffness. However, gardening offers a way to gently work the joints in the hands and knees without using too much pressure. Over time, consistent use of these areas of the body can help keep them loose and reduce the risk of injuries.

Decreases Heart Disease Risk

A recent study conducted in Stockholm found seniors over 60 who gardened regularly reduced the risk of a stroke or heart attack by 30 percent compared to those who did not garden. Gardening is a moderate-intensity exercise that can enhance heart health by increasing blood flow and reducing cholesterol.

Prevents Osteoporosis

Outdoor gardeners can also enjoy receiving a boost to their vitamin D levels when they work in the sunshine. Although it is important to protect your loved one’s skin, 10 minutes of exposure to the sun each day is all it takes to get enough vitamin D to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Reduces Stress Hormones

For seniors who no longer find running comfortable, gardening is a low-impact way to get endorphins flowing. Working in a garden lowers cortisol levels, which can impact more than just your loved one’s mood. Recently, high cortisol has been linked to serious health problems such as obesity and lowered immune system functioning.

Helps Manage Weight

Weight management can become more challenging in late adulthood, and seniors with joint pain may be hesitant to exercise. Gardening requires gentle movements such as walking, bending, and kneeling, all of which can help your loved one burn calories. Eating the food from the garden can also lead to better nutrition and help keep weight off and the rest of the body functioning efficiently.

Whether it’s gardening or another exercise, it’s important for your loved one to participate in some form of regular physical activity. If your loved one needs assistance with this or other daily tasks, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to provide your loved one with the support he or she needs. For more information on the in-home care Prescott families trust, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 928-771-0105 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.