SENIOR WOMEN: IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH WITH GARDENING

Aug 23rd, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

Gardeners Have Better Bone Density

Every time I have the bone density test, the technician is amazed at how strong my bones are.  She usually comments about the numbers being off the chart.  Then the proverbial question, “How do you do it?  Good genes?”  Not likely.  Rather it’s gardening.

Gardening, whether with vegetables and produce or landscape, provides a magnificent way to keep your bones in good shape.  It’s the stooping and getting up many times a day.  It’s leaning over with weight on the knees (not lower back) and pulling weeds after weeds after weeds, every day.  It’s using hand-held garden equipment and tools to till the soil, plant seeds, and harvest vegetables and fruits.  It’s exercising and moving muscles and bones attached to muscles that keeps the bones in good shape.

Granted, you have to be out of the osteoporosis loop genetically to get the kind of results described here.  But even if you are at risk for bone deterioration, or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, research shows that bone health improves with gardening-kind of work.

Benefits of Gardening for Senior Women

I’ve been a life-long gardener, so the other obvious issue is making gardening a way of life.  It’s an integral part of who I am.  I firmly believe it helps me stay bright and alert cognitively.  And I believe there are other benefits and cautions.  Here they are:

  • gardening activity helps maintain good body weight; my couch potato friends express obvious envy about my slim, trim body–but they don’t get up off the couch to do anything about their overweight condition;
  • gardening keeps one in touch with nature, helping to nurture a compassionate approach to life;
  • learning new plants, techniques, horticulture info keeps the brain stretched and active, and that’s a good thing for us senior women;
  • gardening increases social activity with other gardeners, and socialization is a critical component of productive aging;
  • with vegetable/fruit gardening, you control the poisons and toxins you put on the food you eat; many organic gardeners maintain their gardens for this reason alone;
  • gardeners typically have healthy Vitamin D levels; we all use broad gardening hats and non-toxic sun screen, but our D levels remain in great shape nonetheless

The beauty of gardening is visual, physical, emotional and spiritual.  You just can’t beat that combination for such productive activity in our senior years!



Tags: , , , ,

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.