By keeping an active lifestyle and a healthy diet, older adults can avoid losing energy and keep a sharp mind. Gardening provides these advantages and can be easy and enjoyable. It not only provides nutritious, home- grown produce, it has physical and mental health benefits as well. Gardening can increase levels of physical activity, helps mobility and flexibility, encourages the use of all motor skills, improves endurance and strength, reduces stress levels, promotes relaxation, provides stimulation, and improves wellbeing.
Gardening does come with risks that need to be considered before digging in. Bugs, uneven ground, muscle strain, dangerous tools, and chemicals are all problems that could arise when you are putting your green thumb to work. Gardening may seem like a lot of work, but the fruits of your labor will make the time you spend in the garden worth it. Gardening leaves the gardener with a strong feeling of accomplishment and a belly full of nutrition.
Here are 10 Safety tips to note to enjoy the sun safely:
- Prevent sun exposure by working in the garden early in the morning or late in the day. Wear a hat, and apply sunscreen frequently.
- Use insect repellent.
- Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
- Wear protective shoes, lightweight comfortable clothes that cover exposed skin, a hat, and gardening gloves.
- Take breaks often.
- Use vertical planting to make garden beds accessible for planting and harvesting – try using wall and trellis spaces.
- Raise beds to avoid bending and stooping, and remember to use knee pads or a chair when working low to the ground.
- Use lightweight tools that are easier to handle.
- Find adaptive tools and equipment. Or, use foam, tape, and plastic tubing to modify existing tools for a better grip.
- Lift with your knees, not with your back.
Embracing gardening as an activity for active aging can offer a myriad of physical and mental health benefits. Beyond providing fresh, home-grown produce, gardening increases physical activity, enhances mobility and flexibility, reduces stress levels, and fosters relaxation and a sense of accomplishment. However, it’s essential to be mindful of potential risks like bugs, muscle strain, and the use of dangerous tools.
By following these 10 safety tips, older adults can ensure a safe and enjoyable gardening experience while reaping the rewards of nurturing a thriving garden and enjoying the nourishment it brings to both body and mind. Happy Gardening!