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Why Gardening Is Good Exercise for Your Senior Loved One

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on

Seniors who are looking for a low-impact exercise they can do in the comfort of their own yard may want to consider gardening. The movements involved in tending to vegetables and flowers provide many benefits for a senior’s physical wellbeing. The staff at Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of home care in Chandler, discuss a few of the ways your elderly loved one can boost his or her physical health through gardening.

Increases Endurance

Activities like lifting and digging enhance muscle tone, which can lead to increased endurance levels. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of gardening each day to build muscle. Seniors who live a sedentary lifestyle should begin by working a few minutes at a time, then slowly building up to the full 30 minutes.

Helps Maintain Mobility

Seniors with arthritis can especially benefit from gardening as exercise because the movements involved in lifting, digging, and bending stretch and loosen the joints and muscles. Regular exercise can help seniors with arthritis experience fewer symptoms, and gardening can be modified for both safety and comfort. Along with modified activities, such as planting in a raised garden bed, your loved one can use ergonomic tools that help prevent stress on the joints.

Burns Calories

Seniors who are overweight or those who must maintain a healthy weight for medical reasons can control their weight by eating a healthy diet and engaging in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Gardening for 30 minutes can burn up to 300 calories, and your loved one can also break up the activity into 2 smaller sessions to reach his or her exercise goals, gardening for 15 minutes early in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening.

Fights Disease

Gardening has both physical and mental benefits. Daily gardening promotes overall feelings of wellness that can translate into reduced cortisol levels. Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone” because it is released when a person is anxious, depressed, or under stress. High cortisol levels have been linked to heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. By reducing cortisol levels, gardening can lower your loved one’s blood pressure and decrease his or her risk of heart attack and stroke.

If your loved one has limited mobility and needs help getting exercise in the garden, turn to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of Parkinson’s, post-stroke, and Alzheimer’s care in Chandler, and our part-time and live-in caregivers are expertly trained to assist seniors with physical activity a wide array of important daily tasks. For more information and to request a free consultation, call 480.448.6215 today.