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Gardening is one of the most popular pastimes in America, and it’s no surprise – it’s something that everyone can do, offers a variety of benefits, and is simply fun. You can feel a great sense of accomplishment as your plants grow all because of your hard work. It’s a small wonder that there’s such a focus on it.

“The nice part of gardening becoming so popular is that it makes it even more accessible for everyone,” says Marco Gonzalez, Director of Marketing & Sales at East Ridge at Cutler Bay, a Miami-Dade County Life Plan Community with one-story living on 76 acres of green space. “Considering how many benefits it provides older adults, this is great news.”

Marco says that gardening is one of the best activities to do that offers mental, emotional and physical health benefits. It’s a well-rounded exercise that stimulates the senses, helps boost mood, reduces depression, and uses multiple areas of your brain. And, of course, it rewards you with beautiful flowers and delicious produce.

“We have a very active gardening club at East Ridge at Cutler Bay, due in part to our lovely tropical weather,” Marco says. “Our residents absolutely love putting their time and effort into making living works of art. I’m always blown away by the talent we have in our community. Every season is an opportunity to see new wonders.”

Besides being a fun pastime, gardening also provides health benefits that can enhance your life in many ways. Grab your gardening tools and check out these seven benefits of gardening for seniors.

1. Gardening Is an Excellent Form of Exercise

When considering exercise, activities like running or using gym equipment usually come to mind. However, gardening offers a fantastic alternative to stay active that doesn’t require specialized gear. It’s a light exercise that burns calories, builds resistance, strengthens muscles, enhances flexibility, and boosts your mental health.

Tasks like digging, spreading mulch, carrying equipment, and weeding can burn 200 to 400 calories per hour. With the various movements involved – such as stretching, squatting and lifting – you can achieve a full-body workout without needing gym access.

You can also modify gardening to meet your physical needs. If kneeling and bending are difficult, you can use raised garden beds so you are able to enjoy your gardening activities.

2. Gardening Naturally Relieves Stress

You probably already know that both exercise and enjoyable activities produce endorphins and help reduce the levels of cortisol in your body. Gardening is a perfect blend of enjoyment and exercise, providing creativity and a sense of accomplishment as well as physical exertion.

Plus, being outside in the sun and fresh air helps improve mood, so gardening can reduce stress-levels. Ask anyone who has gardened for a long time, and we bet they’ll tell you that, even though gardening can be hard work, it can also be one of the most peaceful and stress-free pastimes they can think of.

senior man watering his potted plants

3. Growing and Caring for Your Garden Makes You Happy

Creative activities and doing things we enjoy boost our body’s production of serotonin. This “happy hormone” improves moods, lowers our risk of depression, and reduces stress. Serotonin provides that calm, happy and satisfied feeling you get when you do something you absolutely love.

Gardening boosts your body’s production of serotonin, which is the “happy hormone.” Serotonin naturally helps reduce cortisol, which puts us in a much better, calmer and happier mood. This helps you feel better, and it also helps reduce your risk of a variety of diseases and health issues too.

4. Regular Gardening Can Enhance Heart Health

Regular gardening not only provides the recommended balance of aerobic activity and strength resistance for cardiovascular health, as suggested by the CDC, but it also offers an additional benefit.

Spending time outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight, which boosts your vitamin D levels. This essential vitamin can reduce your blood pressure, which plays a significant role in lowering the risk of heart disease and promoting heart health.

5. Your Balance Can Improve

Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits among those age 65 and above. Muscle weakness and declining balance increase the likelihood of falls and resulting injuries such as broken bones and torn muscles.

Gardening for older adults with mobility concerns can be a great way to engage in strength and resistance exercises. These exercises can help mitigate fall risk by providing low-impact strength training.

6. You Will Engage Your Brain

Gardening isn’t just a physical activity. It engages our entire bodies, including that most important organ – your brain. Keeping your brain active and stimulated greatly helps reduce your risk of developing dementia. In fact, according to some studies, gardening can help lower your dementia risk by up to 36%.

Older people who are dedicated gardeners get the benefit of dexterity exercises, sensory stimulation, endurance and problem-solving – all things that require you to work different parts of your brain to the fullest. In other words, it’s the perfect cocktail for a brain-boosting activity.

7. Gardening Boosts Immunity

Getting dirty can be messy, but it certainly doesn’t hurt us. In fact, dirt can literally help us be healthier. Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacterium present in garden soil, has been proven to help improve immune systems and reduce the risk of asthma, allergies, and skin issues like psoriasis.

When it comes to activities and exercises you can enjoy no matter your age, you’d be hard-pressed to beat gardening. Whether you prefer tending a window box or landscaping an entire yard, the great outdoors – and all its benefits – is waiting for you. What are you waiting for?

senior couple tending to their vegetable garden outsideExplore East Ridge at Cutler Bay

East Ridge at Cutler Bay stands as Miami-Dade County’s Life Plan Community. Residents have peace of mind knowing they have access to a continuum of care with independent living, assisted living, and memory support, and skilled nursing if and when they need it.

Here, residents lead vibrant lives as they pursue their passions. Whether you’re enjoying our nursery and garden center, the indoor heated pool, or taking a walk on our beautiful walking paths, you have plenty of opportunities to stay active and engaged.

For further details or to arrange a tour of our beautiful senior living community, contact us today at 305-290-2346.