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One of the best parts of retirement is that you have plenty of time to partake in the hobbies you already love—and try out new ones as well. If you count gardening on your list of interests, you stand to benefit from improved physical fitness, mental health, social opportunities, and even a healthier ecosystem. You don’t even need acres of land to do it: you can enjoy small-scale gardening in your senior living community, free of heavy lifting. Gardening can even boost your quality of life in multiple ways.

Physical Health Benefits

Gardening offers many physical health benefits. Some may even surprise you:

 

  1. Rewarding physical activity. Whether you’re working on a small plot of land or a container garden, tending to plant life provides physical fitness benefits. Kneeling, squatting, and standing as you work helps to improve mobility, balance, core strength, and overall stamina, often without your even noticing. You can find garden designs for small spaces here.

 

  1. Exposure to healthy fresh air and vitamin D. Gardening outside allows you to breathe in fresh air, which can help you to feel more clear-headed and invigorated. Exposure to sunlight also stimulates your body to produce vitamin D, which can help to protect you from osteoporosis, cancer, depression, heart attacks, and strokes. However, if you plan to garden in the sun for long periods of time, especially in hot climates, remember to protect your skin with sunscreen and appropriate sun protective clothing.

 

  1. Healthy, flavorful, and inexpensive herbs and vegetables. If you grow herbs or vegetables in a plot or micro garden, you’ll get multiple benefits in one: shorter trips to the grocery store; savings on certain foods over time; fresher, better-tasting produce; and all-natural crops. Growing your own produce allows you to keep it free of potentially harmful pesticides. Even with a small space vegetable garden, you may end up eating more fresh herbs and vegetables overall, which can offer significant health benefits.

Mental Health Benefits

Gardening also provides plenty of mental health benefits in the following ways:

 

  1. Beautifies your living space or community. Thriving plants and flowers make your home and community feel more vibrant, attractive, and well-cared for, which can help lift everyone’s spirits. You and your neighbors can enjoy the sight and scents of your greenery every day. If you do your research, you can even cultivate beautiful plants in the winter to brighten every season.

 

  1. Stress reduction and improved mood. Studies show that gardening may reduce stress even more effectively than other hobbies. In addition to being a relaxing activity, tending to plants offers the meaningful experience of simply caring for a living thing and watching it flourish. This can become a bright spot in your life during the winter, difficult times, or illnesses. Successful gardeners can also enjoy the sense of pride and accomplishment that comes with growing useful and beautiful plants.

 

  1. Opportunities to socialize. If you’re looking for more human interaction in your life, personal small space gardening and community gardening can both help you to strike up conversations. Your neighbors will notice your hard work and may compliment you or offer advice; you may want to share produce, flowers, or clippings with them. In a community garden, you’ll run into other gardeners to chat with as well. Gardening also offers a great family or social activity when friends and loved ones come to visit.

Environmental Benefits

 

  1. Attracts beneficial insects. If you grow native plants, you can attract beneficial insects that help to pollinate flowers, which promotes the health of your local ecosystem. Many insects like bees and butterflies—even wasps, flies, and beetles—also eat pest insects that can harm your plants. Although not insects, spiders in your garden can also help eliminate pest insects like mosquitoes.

 

  1. Attracts birds. Some plants attract birds and other wildlife. In addition to adding beauty, movement, and company to your garden or patio, attracting birds also contributes to a healthy ecosystem. Native plants provide shelter as well as nourishing nectar, seeds, and insects to local birds. Some birds may even scatter pollen and seeds to other areas, encouraging more plant life to grow. You can learn about plants that attract birds here.

 

  1. Can help to reduce your carbon footprint. The more herbs and vegetables you grow yourself, the fewer you have to buy from the grocery store, which can reduce the fossil fuel you burn while driving if you’re able to make fewer trips. Learn about other ways to keep your gardening eco-friendly.

Show Off Your Green Thumb at Chapel Pointe

Chapel Pointe is a faith-based continuing care retirement community. We commit each day to serving and enhancing the quality of life for people aged 62+ in Central Pennsylvania. We’re honored that our greater community sees the servant-heart of our nonprofit organization and consistently selects Chapel Pointe as “The Best of Cumberland County.”

Nestled in eight beautifully landscaped acres in Carlisle, PA, our welcoming campus is filled with interesting places to explore and amenities that make life easy and enjoyable. If you love gardening or want to give it a try, you can plant in pots and containers around your home, use a Chapel Pointe raised bed, or rent a plot at the nearby Dickinson College Community Garden.

Since the beginning, our team's mission has been to ensure that every resident is treated with love and the utmost respect. Experiencing our core values—trust, integrity, faith, service, and innovation—lived out every day at Chapel Pointe reassures seniors that they are making the right decision by welcoming us into their lives. Contact us to learn more about our community or support our mission by making a donation today!

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