Men and women of all ages are told that 30 minutes of moderate activity is important.
This includes elderly adults. The problem is that arthritis and other chronic health conditions can make it hard to exercise. While those 30 minutes are still recommended, there’s good news. The British Journal of Sports Medicine released the results of a 10-year study that found light exercise like gardening is also beneficial.
This study involved more than 88,000 participants between the ages of 40 and 85. The participants involved themselves in a preferred activity for at least 10 minutes each week. For those that kept that goal, the risk of mortality declined by 18 percent. The more time invested in the activity, the better the decline.
The goal still should be at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day. If your parent doesn’t walk far, however, gardening is a great alternative. Here are some of the ways gardening helps your parent stay healthy.
The Physical Health Benefits of Gardening
There is a lot to gain from gardening. Fresh fruits and vegetables are only one way that gardening benefits men and women. A diet high in produce is best at preventing chronic health conditions.
Bending over to pull weeds, plant seeds, and thin crops can stretch and tone the muscles in the back, arms, and legs. Digging holes and turning over soil with a shovel works out the arms, shoulders, and legs. Even pushing a wheelbarrow helps to tone the arm, shoulder, and leg muscles.
The Mental Health Benefits of Gardening
Being outside in nature has been proven to improve mood, lower the risk of depression, and help ease stress. A study found that just 20 minutes a day helped lower rates of cortisol, a stress hormone.
You don’t want your parent spending too much time in the direct sunlight. That increases the risk of skin cancer. You can have your parent liberally apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen over any exposed skin. Your mom or dad should also wear a hat and take breaks in the shade to stay hydrated. That makes it easy to be outside for at least 20 minutes a day.
If your parent loses track of time or can’t be alone outside without assistance, look at senior care services. You could have a caregiver coming each day or a few days a week to offer senior care to your parent. Services range from help with walking to assistance with meals. Call an agency to learn more.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care in Monroeville, PA, talk to the caring staff at Superior Home Care today. Call us at 412.754.2600