- Gardening is a prevalent activity in the U.S., increasingly appreciated by women for self-care and health knowledge.
- Gardening provides aging women with physical health benefits, decreased stress and anxiety, and increased social interaction.
- The activity also offers a sense of purpose, accomplishment, and access to fresh, nutritious foods.
- Getting started with gardening can be as simple as creating a garden bed or container garden, depending on available space.
- Successful gardening involves careful plant selection based on conditions and regular maintenance, including watering, weeding, and fertilizing.
As women age, slowing down and becoming more reflective is common. Time also affects their bodies and health; with this comes a need to care for themselves in new ways. One of these ways is by connecting with nature, a practice that has been shown to offer many benefits for people’s physical and mental well-being. One way you can do this is by creating a garden in your backyard. Here’s a look into gardening in the U.S., reasons to start gardening as an aging woman, and how to get started.
It’s estimated that 55% of the households in the U.S. have some gardening activity, whether container or vegetable gardening. Women comprise 32% of people who garden; this number is expected to increase with technology development and easier access to resources. With more women interested in gardening, it’s becoming a tool for gaining knowledge about self-care and health.
Benefits for Aging Women
Gardening provides benefits that are especially beneficial to older adults, particularly women. Here are some of them:
Improved Physical Health
Gardening is a physical activity that can provide a wealth of health benefits. It promotes a healthy heart, helps reduce stress levels, and even lowers blood pressure. The repetitive movements of weeding and planting can be beneficial for arthritis and can also help create better balance and coordination. Moreover, the vitamin D you get from outside can boost your immune system and build strong bones.
Decreased Stress and Anxiety
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety and help improve overall mental health. Gardeners have reported that tending to plants is therapeutic and lowers cortisol levels, the hormone that triggers the stress response. The sense of accomplishment and purpose of growing your food or caring for a beautiful flower bed can also empower and offer a sense of control over your environment.
Increased Social Interaction
Gardening can be a great way to connect with like-minded individuals. From joining a community garden to volunteering at a local green space or attending plant sales, it’s an opportunity to forge new connections and engage with others who share your interests. This type of social interaction can be precious for aging adults as it can reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.
A Sense of Purpose and Accomplishment
As people age, their priorities shift, and they may find themselves with more time but less direction. Gardening can provide a sense of meaning and purpose as it allows one to create and care for something living. Whether planting vegetables to prepare meals, filling planters with colorful flowers to beautify your outdoor space, or raising a community garden, gardening can be a fulfilling hobby that can offer a sense of accomplishment.
Increased Access to Nutritious Foods
Growing your organic fruits and vegetables in a backyard garden can provide access to fresh produce, which brings multiple nutritional benefits. Pesticides and preservatives are not used, allowing for the healthiest possible form of food. Homegrown produce is not only fresher, but it also tastes better. Gardening can help introduce healthier eating habits while also keeping people engaged with an activity that provides physical and emotional benefits.
How to Get Started
You can start gardening in various ways, from simple container gardens for your balcony to more elaborate flower and vegetable beds. Here are some tips on getting started:
One of the simplest ways to start gardening is by creating a garden bed. You can build an outdoor oasis for yourself or your family with just a few tools and some soil. You’ll want to pick a spot with easy access to water, plenty of sunlight, and good drainage. If you don’t want it to flood, consider investing in a pre-built raised garden bed. This also has the benefits of being easier to maintain and keep pests away.
If you don’t have the space for a garden bed, you can still enjoy gardening by creating a container garden. Containers come in all shapes and sizes, allowing you to customize your garden according to your needs. You can even choose from different materials such as wood or metal. Before planting in containers, make sure to water them and ensure that there are enough drainage holes for excess water.
When selecting plants for your garden, it is essential to consider the size of the space you have available, the soil in your area, and how much sunlight will hit each plant. If you’re a beginner gardener, sticking with native plants is a great way to ensure your garden will flourish and require minimal effort.
Gardening can be as easy or complex an activity as you like. Generally, it’s important to water regularly, remove weeds often, and fertilize when necessary. If creating a vegetable garden, rotate the crops and add compost to promote healthy soil.
Gardening is an activity that can offer many benefits for aging women, from improved physical health to a sense of connection with nature. With gardening becoming increasingly accessible, you can get started in many ways, depending on your needs and preferences.