Gardening Improves Health of Older Adults

By Charlie Nardozzi

It's widely known that regular exercise contributes to the prevention of chronic diseases associated with aging and helps maintain an independent lifestyle. While many seniors find regular exercise boring and inconvenient, gardening is a popular leisure activity of this population. Researchers at Kansas State University wanted to see if gardening alone can supply the recommended amount and intensity of exercise needed for seniors to stay healthy.

Researchers randomly recruited seniors from Manhattan, Kansas, and investigated the exercise intensity of nine different garden tasks: gripping, stooping, lifting, stretching, walking, standing, kneeling, sitting, and squatting. They regularly measured heart rate, oxygen usage, energy expenditure, bone density, and hand strength.

Results indicated that the nine gardening tasks gave seniors low to moderate physical activity and met the recommended 30 minutes of daily moderate physical activity. Participation in gardening was found to be a predictor for leading a physically active lifestyle and for high life satisfaction in older adults.

For more information on this study, go to: Kansas State University.

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