I found an article, “Gardening Gives Older Adults Benefits Like Hand Strength And Self Esteem” (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203142517.htm), which talks about the health benefits to older humans who garden.
Scientists at Kansas state did a study on gardening and the elderly. The results showed an increase in hand strength and pinch force, both major concerns when aging. The study consisted of looking at 15 different health aspects in seniors, and comparing it in those who garden and those who do not. Bone mineral density, sleep qualtiy, physical fitness, hand strength, and psychological well-being were af few of those aspects measured. Sin-Ae Park, one of the researchers, says that not only does hand strength improve, but also self esteem. Becoming an elder can be depressing, but being able to grow and give life to plants can be very rewarding.
Now researchers are working on hand strength in stroke patients via horticulture therapy. The test subjects would mix soil and fill pots, always using their hands which made for good exercise.
Research shows that gardening among older adults meets the excersise recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Park is now looking into gardening as a preventive method in childhood obsersity. She says that gardening is rewarding and keeps you accountable. You have a plant that has to be taken care of, and when you do so properly you are rewarded.
Personally, gardening is a great way to keep older adults from going stir-crazy. My grandparents used to garden like crazy when they were in their seventies, upon entering their eighties, though, their health has declined, keeping them from participating in what used to be one of their favorite pastimes. After retiring gardening is a great way to keep motivated in life, you have to stay dedicated to it and you have a goal; a beautiful garden. If gardening can not only keep self-esteem high, giving older adults a purpose in life, and keep them a little more active then it is a great activity to promote. I do feel, though, that gardening is almost a thing of the past. I have never been interested in gardening, I don’t have the patience for it, and I don’t know many people who do. So if research find it helps in preventing childhood obesity, then maybe the next generation will be motivated to garden. Not only is gardening good for the soul, it is good for the soil. The plants keep the soil full of nutrients.