Aging shouldn’t stop you from cultivating your interests. Whether you’re a long-time gardener or eager to pick up the hobby, here are some of the advantages to gardening as you get older.
Gardening is a form of aerobic exercise that strengthens major muscle groups and improves mobility. It also encourages you to spend more time outdoors where you can benefit from the sunshine and fresh air. Tending to a garden reduces stress, promotes relaxation and instils a sense of accomplishment. A vegetable or herb garden also gives you access to fresh, nutritious food.
Gardening can be a collective pastime that allows you to meet new people or spend time with old friends. Studies show that strong social ties increase longevity, lessen cognitive decline and prevent depression among older adults. If you live in a retirement home, inquire about joining or starting a gardening club to connect with residents who share your interests. You can even make gardening a family activity and an opportunity to teach your grandchildren new skills.
A balcony garden or an assortment of houseplants will allow you to continue gardening once you’ve moved from a house to an apartment or retirement home. Many plants can thrive in pots and window boxes. If you’re used to growing a vegetable garden, microgreens can be grown in even a small living space. Also, plants make great roommates — they boost your mood, beautify your home and require little upkeep.
Gardening is an activity that can be done at any age. Find what works for you and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.