Spring is just around the corner. If you are looking for a good reason to spend more time outdoors, consider a hobby like gardening. It is a great activity in spring and summer that is fun, purposeful, and also provides health benefits.
The benefits of gardening include:
- Good exercise. Gardening gets the body moving by requiring some bending, squatting, and pulling. Make sure you do some light stretching before and after gardening to avoid injuries. A few hours of gardening a week will give you enjoyable and rewarding workouts.
- Stress reducer. Gardening lowers stress-producing cortisol levels in your brain. Too much cortisol can affect your blood pressure and glucose levels.
- Mood Improver. The sun’s rays boost serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical that is thought to regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood.
- Increases Vitamin D. Exposure to the sun is good for you as it is one of the best sources of this essential nutrient for the body.
- May boost brain health. Gardening requires the use of many critical thinking skills. Studies show that engaging in gardening tasks, including dexterity, problem solving, endurance, and sensory awareness, reduces the risk of dementia.
- Have seating in your garden. It will make it more inviting and will give you a place to rest when you need a break from the work of gardening.
- When it is hot outside, work in the mornings and evenings when it tends to be cooler.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and protective clothing including a wide brimmed hat.
- Wear gardening gloves and sturdy shoes.
What to plant?
Tasty vegetables, pretty flowers, or both? It’s up to you! No matter what you plant, here are some helpful tips:
- Determine where you will garden and what type of sunlight the area will get so you can plant things that will grow well.
- Keep in mind that you might want a fenced in area to keep out unwanted “visitors”.
- Have an easy to reach water source near your garden – whether a hose or a watering can.
- Consider organic plant food.
- You will need tools and a place to store them – spade, trowel, rake, clippers and gloves.
If gardening sounds like too daunting of a task, try something small, like a container garden. Potted plants can also help prevent back strain or feelings of dizziness caused by bending over.
If you need some gardening advice or want to purchase locally, At Home In Darien’s list of businesses that offer a discount to seniors with their At Home In Darien Membership Card includes garden centers. Click here to access the link. Please give us a call at 203-655-2227 if you are a Darien senior and would like a Membership Card.
Both the Mather Center and the Darien Library are periodically offering complimentary virtual events that focus on gardening and flower arrangements. Just visit their web sites and acquire their schedule of events. You’ll be able to enjoy learning new skills and refreshing old ones.