August 23, 2021
There is a general misunderstanding that, as we age, we have to give up the activities and hobbies we love. This is simply not true. It is often the case that with the proper guidance and knowledge, we can change our practice to better accommodate our aging bodies. This is certainly the case for those who enjoy gardening. Gardening has many health benefits, and with the right tips we can enjoy it well into our golden years.
Raised Gardening Beds
Raised garden beds have many benefits, both of health and practicality. Seasoned gardeners might appreciate the fact that they harbor less weed and better water retention. The benefits of a form of gardening that requires no kneeling can be invaluable for seniors. This is especially true for those suffering from arthritis and other conditions that cause stress on the joints. Raised garden beds come in all sorts of sizes and are a great option for gardeners of all ages.
If raised beds aren’t for you, there are options for the average senior who might be suffering from arthritis or other conditions that might make kneeling in a garden more difficult. According to AgingInPlace, “around 54.4 million US adults annually were diagnosed with some type of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other painful conditions such as gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia”. Thus, if a senior would like to work in an in-ground garden, they may want to invest in a quality kneeler.
These devices come in all shapes and sizes, but typically include side handrails to help you get up and down as you navigate your garden. In addition, the use of a foam pad can help you comfortably kneel in the grass while keeping your knees from getting sore.
There is a lot to be said about the benefits of being out in the sun. Most notably the exposure to and role of Vitamin D in healthy aging. But too much of a good thing can be damaging. According to the CDC, less than half of older adults protect their skin from the sun when outside for an hour or more on a warm, sunny day. Sunburn and prolonged exposure to the sun can increase risk of melanoma and skin cancer.
It is highly recommended that seniors use sunscreen when gardening in the sun for prolonged periods of time. It is also encouraged that they wear proper attire, like wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts and pants. This will help seniors stay protected for the sun as they enjoy their gardens.
High Quality Equipment
Using the Right Gardening Tools
A great way to reduce stress on the joints in your hands is to use new, ergonomically correct tools. Tools that better fit your hands, ones that are not too large or too small, are one of the best ways to reduce strains on your body while gardening.
Some tools, like sheers and spades will dull as the seasons go by. This causes more and more extra stress on your joints as you try and cut and dig your way through your garden. The sharper your tools, the less stress you put on your body.
A good pair of gloves can protect a gardener from cuts and blisters. These can be at risk for infection if not treated correctly.
Boots or shoes
Gardeners are constantly on their feet as they walk through their garden. For this reason, proper footwear is a great investment for those who are avid gardeners. Plant Care Today advises that your shoes should be waterproof to keep your feet dry and avoid fungal problems and blisters. Gardening shoes are also durable and lightweight to keep your feet comfortable throughout the day.
Tips for Gardening
Whether it’s using better equipment or finding a type of gardening that works for you, if you follow just a few of these tips, then you might extend the time you are able to garden for years!
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