A garden in full bloom can be pleasing to the eyes and nose. But, are you also aware that gardening could offer a series of health benefits? Here is all that you need to know about why gardening is good and how it can come to benefit older adults.
Improves Immune System
Gardening can get a little messy because you are practically digging into the dirt. But, as it turns out, a little dirt will not harm you in any way. In fact, it might actually benefit you in ways that you had never expected. Studies have shown that the bacteria which is found in garden soil that is known as Mycobacterium vaccae, can improve your immunity. This is a friendly bacteria that has been known to reduce the symptoms of asthma, allergies, psoriasis, and even depression. Getting exposed to this bacteria can improve your immune system, thus reducing your risks of developing the said medical conditions.
Relieves Anxiety and Stress
A study has stated that gardening can reduce the cortisol levels in our brain. Cortisol is an important compound that helps sustain bodily functions. It is also known as the stress hormone. When the level of cortisol in our body gets too high, our glucose and blood pressure levels may fluctuate. With regular gardening, you can maintain a good level of cortisol in your body, thus maintaining stable levels of glucose and blood pressure.
May Reduce Risks of Dementia
There was a study that found out that gardening may lower the risks of older adults developing dementia by as much as 36 percent. This could be due to the fact that gardening requires many critical functions such as sensory awareness and dexterity. Spending just a short amount of time gardening regularly can help older adults improve their strength and endurance while also maintaining their motor skills.
Gardening might not seem like a vigorous activity as compared to biking or swimming. However, it is actually a hearty physical activity. It has been proven that participating in light exercise can help to slow down the aging process. You would want to perform some light stretching before and after gardening to prevent issues like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis which are common injuries to gardeners.
Fresh air can do wonders to our health and body, and so can sunshine. Sunshine not only supports your body in producing vitamin D, but it also improves the serotonin levels in our brain, thus leaving us feeling happy and positive. Serotonin is a chemical that uplifts our mood and helps us feel calmer and more focused. This is especially important for individuals who suffer from a seasonal affective disorder which is a type of depression that takes place with the change in seasons. Do take note that though the sun offers plenty of benefits, it is still necessary to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays which can be harmful to your skin. You can prevent sunburn and heatstroke by applying sunscreen and staying well hydrated before gardening.