5 Reasons Gardening Helps Senior Citizens in Iowa

Summer in Iowa is in full swing, which means you still have plenty of time to harvest your spring and summer garden. Soon it will be time to prep for fall plants such as squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and more.

 

Organic gardening can be an effective tool for keeping our senior citizens healthy and active. Whether you’ve been gardening for years or feel it’s time to finally start an organic vegetable garden of your own, there are so many benefits.

 

1.Encourages physical activity

 

Getting enough physical activity throughout the week is critical to maintaining optimal health as we age. Gardening is considered a form of exercise and is a safer option for senior citizens than going to the gym. Tending to your plants will encourage your body to move, switch positions, and remain flexible and strong. Plus you’ll burn between 200 and 400 calories!

 

2.Improves nutrition

 

While it’s important for everyone to get a healthy dose of fruits and veggies, senior citizens should consume about seven servings per day. This is because these foods are high in minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

 

3.Promotes healthy living and mentality

 

Whenever you have a rough day, tending to your garden is a great way to find your zen. Studies have shown that gardening is a spiritually and mentally healing practice that enhances positive mindset.

 

4.Keeps you connected to the community

 

Whether you’re a member of a retirement community or you’re living independently, planting your own organic garden will improve your community as a whole. Fruits and vegetables make the environment colorful and bright while pumping more oxygen into the air. Once it’s time to harvest the fruits of your labor (pun intended) you can take them to one of the local Iowa farmers markets or donate them to your local food bank or church.

 

5.Helps maintain mental focus

 

Keeping the body and mind active is important as we age. Gardening is a learned skill that takes prep work, practice, and organization. Engaging in gardening activities on a daily basis keeps our brains active and boosts problem-solving skills.

 

Gardening tips for senior citizens

 

  • Use raised flower beds to avoid bending over all the time and straining your muscles.
  • Purchase a pair of inexpensive kneepads to protect your knees while digging.
  • Use long handed tools as they provide better grip and leverage.
  • Bring a stool with you into the garden. Spending an excessive amount of time tending to crops can wear anyone out. Keep a stool in the garden or shed so you can easily bring it over to your plants.
  • Avoid following the same gardening routine every day. Engaging in repetitive movements is an easy way to strain your muscles. Change things up to utilize a different muscle group each day.
  • Visit your garden in the morning to avoid the heat of the day and the risk of dehydration.
  • Label your plants. Using eco-friendly plant markers such as those made by MCG Biomarkers is an excellent way to stay organized. MCG biomarkers will help you remember your plants’ watering requirements, pruning instructions, and species. Visit your local HyVee to purchase your biomarkers or order them online today!

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