Gardening is one of the most popular hobbies for older people to take part in here in the UK. That's a good thing too as there are plenty of benefits of getting out into the garden, for your mental and physical well-being.
As you may know already, gardening can become an addictive hobby. Everybody wants to grow the best vegetables or arrange their flower bed in the most attractive way. For those of you who are yet to explore the world of gardening, here are five examples of the benefits on offer.
1. Fresh Air and Sunlight
One of the best things about gardening, either in your own garden or at an allotment, is that you're outside in the fresh air. During the summer this means that you're getting vital vitamin D from the sunshine. An increase in vitamin D levels can help to reduce the risk of hip fractures and high blood pressure, as well as boosting the strength of your bones.
The fresh air will also improve your mental well-being. Being out in the garden helps you to forget everything else that may be going on in your life. Some studies have even suggested that gardening can lower the cortisol levels in your brain. This is often known as the stress hormone.
It has also been said that the sunlight you enjoy whilst gardening helps to boost the serotonin levels in your brain. This is a chemical which improves your mood and helps you to feel calm, perfect if you've been struggling recently.
Generally, it is often said that spending time in the outdoors, being in contact with the natural environment, can lead to a happy mood.
2. Keeping Fit and Active
You may not realise it at first, but gardening is a perfect way of keeping fit and active. Exercising is an important part of the ageing process and is something that we all need to try and do if we're to lower the risk of health problems.
Gardening is a low impact activity which will work your whole body. Here is just some of the physical activity you'll be doing in the garden:
- Walking around your garden.
- Bending down.
- Pulling weeds out.
All of this will ensure that you're burning calories and working your muscles. Throughout your session you'll be pushing, lifting, pulling, stretching and carrying equipment around with you. Overtime you'll boost your stamina and improve the health of your heart.
3. Gardening Provides a Sense of Achievement
One thing that improves the mood of everybody, no matter what their age is, is the feeling of achievement. A sense of pride from something you've completed or made can go a long way to putting a smile on your face.
Gardening can help you to achieve this feat. Whether it's growing your own food, designing flower beds, or growing the perfect plant, the end result is sure to fill you with pride. This is something that you've created yourself, it's yours and nobody else can claim this.
4. Improves Social Life
Hobbies help to improve your social life. You meet new people who have similar interests, and this leads to more events landing in your calendar. Gardening is no different, especially if you buy an allotment.
Whilst there, you'll naturally have allotment neighbours who you'll become friends with. Whilst gardening you'll be sharing tips on how to get the best results, whilst sharing your own life experiences with one another. As time goes by you'll increase your social network and do other things with your new companions.
Of course, you can still achieve this if you're out in your own garden. It's highly-likely that you'll see more of your neighbours whilst you're gardening, and you may become closer with them. Being a gardener may also lead to you joining online forums and groups too, extending your social network even further.
5. You can Grow your own Food
Is there anything better than seeing food on the table that you grew yourself? As we've discussed already, this can provide you with a huge sense of achievement and pride. Of course, eating homegrown food also has plenty of other benefits.
For example, the vegetables and fruit that you grow will be fresh and full of nutrients. This means that will taste much better than the items your purchase from the supermarket, where you have no control over the freshness. Vegetables that ripen in the garden also have more nutrients than some store-bought vegetables that must be picked early.
Growing your own food will lead to you and your loved ones eating from fruit and veg, which is perfect for keeping everybody healthy. This is even more of a bonus if you have your grandchildren round for dinner. Getting them into the vegetable routine now will ensure that they eat healthily throughout their lives.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly in today's economy, growing your own food will help reduce the cost of your shopping bill. Buy seeds will be a lot cheaper than buying everything at the supermarket.
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