elderly man gardening

How Gardening Helps Brain Function and Movement

March 31, 2022 11:10 am Published by
While growing fresh fruit and vegetables or sweet smelling flowers can be incredibly rewarding at any age, the mental and physical health advantages are particularly beneficial for those in their later years. Here are a few ways gardening helps brain function and movement:

Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia
Certain activities offer a great way to keep your mind active and in turn, reduce the chance of various diseases. In fact, studies show that gardening by seniors can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of Dementia. With gardening having both a certain level of physical demand and critical thinking, there are great cognitive benefits to be gained.

Lowers stress and reduced risk of depression
Overall mental health can also be improved through gardening. Studies show that gardening can lower cortisol, the main stress hormone, and may even lower blood pressure. Gardening has also been shown to increase serotonin, known for being the brain’s “happy chemical”, which can help fight depression.

Improved immunity
There is such a thing as too clean, believe it or not! One way we can protect ourselves is by exposing ourselves to good bacteria and gardening is a great way to do this. Dirt in particular has lots of good bacteria that can help, so don’t be afraid to get dirty.

Increased intake of Vitamin D
In a world where a lot of our life is spent indoors, outdoor activities are essential for getting much needed vitamins, like Vitamin D! While you don’t want to overdo it and should always protect yourself with sun safe clothing, a few hours in the sun can boost your Vitamin D better than any supplement.

Low impact exercise
Gardening is a great form of exercise that is kind on older bodies, while encouraging much needed movement. It requires bending, stretching, and pulling, which engages muscles throughout the body and improves dexterity in a low impact, less stressful way.

Ultimately, gardening is about the enjoyment of seeing something grow and thrive and knowing you had a part in it! It makes you feel great inside and out and for many, is a fun pastime.

Gardening can greatly improve your life at any age. Why not get started today with your own garden? With the ability to modify it to suit your abilities, anyone can find joy from gardening.

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This post was written by Tanya Grimward

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