Retirement is something many adults look forward to most of their lives. They work and raise their children and dutifully sock away income for retirement, anticipating one day living out the dream of their golden years.
However, sometimes the transition from the busy workplace to a quieter, less-demanding routine can be disconcerting. Some retirees may become more isolated, feel lonely, are at risk for depression, and find themselves missing the hustle and bustle of life before retirement. This can lead to inactivity, which can be detrimental to both physical and mental health.
It’s no secret that as we age it’s important to exercise and be physically active. So, whether you are part of the aforementioned happy-go-lucky retiree group or the latter group who need more time to adjust, be mindful that exercise is key to long-lasting health across the board. And if you’re looking for a fun way to stay happy and healthy in retirement—may we suggest you consider gardening.
Yes! Gardening—whether growing vegetables or planting stunning flower beds and more—has long been found to positively impact your health and wellbeing.
Top Ways Gardening Affects Your Physical Wellbeing
Believe it or not, gardening is a recommended activity that can help people of all ages stay physically fit. In fact, gardening is considered a moderate-intensity exercise that actually burns calories and can help you lose weight.1, 6 Besides being a fun way to get that exercise in, the typical activities that gardening requires (lifting, pulling weeds, digging, and even pushing a wheelbarrow) can help maintain hand coordination, agility, and strength.2
Time outdoors in the sun provides critical vitamin D which, along with a proper diet, can help maintain bone density, and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancer.3,4 Additionally, gardening can help alleviate chronic pain and even boost your immune system.4,5, 6
How Regular Gardening Impacts Your Mental Health
On top of the physical benefits, gardening can give you a specific sense of purpose that offers a bit of excitement in moments of solitude. This leads to less stress and a greater sense of compassion—which, in turn, makes you happier.
Additionally, researchers have found that as you hone your gardening skills, you become more confident and experience higher levels of self-esteem. And, perhaps more importantly, when you garden, you’re also exercising your brain. As published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, scientists performed a study and found that participants who performed regular gardening experienced protected cognition, increased brain volume, and 50 percent decrease in their risk of developing Alzheimer’s.6
These benefits are pretty hard to ignore—and the fruits of your labor won’t be ignored, either, if you decide to take up gardening when you retire! There is nothing more satisfying that having a tangible result after a day’s “work.” Imagine a vegetable garden bursting with seasonal harvests. Perhaps colorful flowers or something whimsical like a butterfly garden is more your style. Either way and regardless of how your retirement life pans out—consider making gardening a priority to help you achieve the health and happiness you deserve in retirement.
This article was written for informational purposes only. Before beginning any new physical activity, it is suggested that you consult with your health care provider to ensure that activity is appropriate for your individual situation.
1 Community Gardens May Produce More than Vegetables https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418162135.htm
2 Gardening Gives Older Adults Benefits Like Hand Strength And Self Esteem https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203142517.htm
3 The Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening for Seniors https://www.delawareonline.com/story/sponsor-story/five-star-senior-living/2019/04/24/surprising-health-benefits-gardening-seniors/3551365002/
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