Anybody who’s ever weeded a row of turnips, planted petunias, or mowed a thriving lawn knows that gardening can be hard work. That hard work pays off in more ways than having the best roses on the block or a tasty salad. Gardening in its various forms has a multitude of benefits:
- Increase hand strength, body strength, and flexibility
- Improve hand-eye coordination
- Burn calories. If it makes you sweat, it counts as exercise.
- Promote mental and physical stimulation and may help preserve cognitive health
- One of the biggest benefits is if you’re a vegetable gardener, you get to eat what you sow
Gardening is a way to socially connect across generations and with the great outdoors. Introducing children or grandchildren to gardening with their own little plot or even just helping with the watering (what kid doesn’t like to play with the garden hose?) can create a bond.
While gardening, people also need to keep safety in mind by rotating garden tasks to avoid repetitive movements. An example might be after 15 minutes of raking, change to pruning for a while. This helps to prevent aggravating muscles by using the same ones over and over. Grab a trowel and get growing!
 Park, S., & Shoemaker, C. Observing body position of older adults, while gardening for health benefits and risks. Activities, Adaptations & Aging, 33; 31-38.
 D’Andrea, S. J., Batavia, M., & Sasson, N. (2007). Effect of horticultural therapy on preventing the decline of mental abilities of patients with Alzheimer’s type dementia. Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture, 18, 9–17.
 Infantino, M. (2004). Gardening: A strategy for health promotion in older women. Journal of the New York State Nurses Association, 35(2), 10–17.