If you’ve ever had a garden or grown plants, you’ll know it can be hard — but rewarding — work. The rewards go beyond the pride of nourishing a living plant or the vegetables that may come with a garden. In reality, the benefits of gardening can have long-reaching effects. From the low-impact exercise you get, to relaxation and stress-relief, gardening is one of the healthiest ways a senior, or anyone, can spend their time.

Cultivate A Healthier Diet

It may seem obvious, but keeping a vegetable garden gives you access to free, fresh veggies. In turn, having healthier food promotes healthier eating. With access and affordability to healthy foods being one of the largest barriers to healthy eating, a garden gives you a distinct advantage in achieving an excellent diet.

Having access to affordable, healthier food promotes healthier eating.

What’s great about your own garden is that you can grow the veggies and herbs you want. You can grow a superfood-filled garden with kale or beans. If you’re a beginner with a garden, there are plenty of veggies that are easy to grow, like tomatoes, carrots, or peppers.

Nurture an Ever-Improving Physique

We’ve written before about how yardwork can be an excellent exercise for seniors. This logic extends to gardening. Not only is gardening low-impact, it provides aerobic, endurance, and muscular exercise in a low-stress environment. Allowing you to forgo the weight room, and cheaper than a swimming pool, gardening is a complete exercise that’s feasible for seniors.

Allowing you to forgo the weight room, and cheaper than a swimming pool, gardening is a complete exercise that’s feasible for seniors.

One of the advantages of gardening for exercise is that it’s not arbitrary. You can skip a gym day. If you don’t water or tend to your garden, all your hard work will be for nothing. Gardening is also effective at burning calories. It can help you drop anywhere from 115 to 315 calories for 30 minutes of work. As with any exercise, though, make sure you stretch and warm up a bit before getting going.

Find A Growing Sense of Happiness

Finally, if you’ve felt stressed, sad, or lonely recently, it’s time to find your green thumb. Whether gardening is “me-time” or a family matter, it’s purposeful work with low stakes. This makes gardening a form of mindfulness meditation, promoting stress-relief and relaxation. It’s so effective that gardening is often promoted as a potent form of therapy.

Gardening is linked with a lower risk of dementia, while community gardens prevent social isolation.

Mentally, gardening is a treasure-trove of positives. It’s linked with a lower risk of dementia, while community gardens prevent social isolation. Gardening also combats depression while making you markedly happier. Simply put, gardening is great for your mental health.

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The positives of gardening go well beyond the three examples we’ve covered here. In fact, one meta-analysis of 76 different studies found that gardeners saw significant benefits in nearly every aspect of their lives. From positively impacting your health and BMI to providing a general sense of community and happiness, gardening can greatly enrich your life.