The Benefits of Gardening at Havenwood Heritage Heights
What is it about gardening that makes you feel so vibrant and healthy? We’re part of the natural world, and experts say spending time in nature makes us feel restored and connected. It also provides tangible health benefits for people of all ages.
At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we see the evidence firsthand. We recently added a North End vegetable garden to our existing South End garden, providing an opportunity for many residents to enjoy spending time outdoors and continuing their own gardening traditions. With vegetable gardening season in full swing, we want to share some of the perks you can enjoy when you get involved in this fun and relaxing hobby.
Better Overall Health
Research has found that spending time near green space can decrease health complaints. In addition, the moderate-intensity exercise associated with gardening can lower the risk of a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, heart disease, colon cancer, obesity and more. Not to mention the health benefits from all of the fresh herbs and veggies you get to enjoy as the fruits of your labor!
Experts say simply viewing natural scenes confers benefits for people. And gardening, in particular, has gained support from the scientific community as a proven method of stress relief. Stress can cause or contribute to many health issues, including heart attacks, stomach aches and headaches, and it can make pre-existing health problems worse. One study found that compared to reading, gardening did a better job of lowering stress levels.
Easing of Depression Symptoms
A study of individuals diagnosed with depression found that growing vegetables and flowers resulted in noticeable improvement in symptoms. In addition, the mood of the subjects continued in an improved state for as long as three months after the gardening experiment ended. Some experts believe that exposure to a harmless bacteria found in soil may stimulate release of the happiness-building brain chemical serotonin.
Reduced Dementia Risk
Research has suggested that the physical movement of gardening can help reduce the risk of dementia. In studies, individuals in their 60s and 70s showed a 36-percent and 47-percent reduced risk of dementia, even when other health issues were considered. The research results suggest that taken together, the mental and physical activity of gardening may influence the mind in a positive way.
Great Form of Exercise
When you garden, you spend restorative time in the fresh air and sunshine — and you add some healthy movement to your day. Between the lifting, stretching and walking around, you get several forms of exercise during gardening. Repetitive tasks — including weeding, planting and digging — that require you to stretch or use your strength serve as particularly beneficial forms of low-impact exercise, experts say.
Get into Gardening
With so many health benefits, gardening is a fantastic hobby for seniors and people of all ages. If you’re not already enjoying some outdoor time, why not get started now? To learn more about the gardening program at Havenwood Heritage Heights, please contact us.