A Toolkit For Aging Gracefully with Gardening
We’ve always known that gardening promotes health and wellbeing, but a new study conducted by University Collage London shows that gardening in retirement drastically improves health in old age.
The study, which looked specifically at physical activity in aging populations, examined over 3,500 men and women over the age of 65, and found that despite a commonly-held belief, it is never too late to start being active.
Gardening is as good for your body as it is for your mind: according to the researcher’s findings, the physical movements involved in gardening (lifting, bending, crouching, taking in fresh air) all help improve muscle mass in the elderly, which in turn prevents falls. Physical activity, meanwhile, may help prevent osteoporosis and bone thinning in women over 60.
But is it possible to start a new physical activity in retirement without putting extra strain on your body? The answer is yes, and we’ve profiled some tools to help you get there:
Cedar Elevated Planters
Earth Easy is just one of several gardening and carpentry outfits that manufacture beautiful elevated planters. Raised beds are ideal for would-be gardeners suffering from back strain or simply those who don’t want to have to bend down to garden. Planter boxes typically offer around 8 square feet of gardening space, with convenient slots for drainage and a built-in storage shelf for pots and trowels.
MSM Powder for Joint Health
MSM Powder is a supplement that has grown increasingly popular in Europe and in the wellness sphere of the United States. MSM, or Methylsulfonylmethane, has been shown to effectively combat osteoarthritis, which makes it an appealing supplement for the 65 and older crowd. MSM is high in bioavailable sulfur, which is one of the building blocks of healthy joints. As such, it is often taken as a supplement by people who experience knee or other joint pain, which can occur in gardeners who spend a lot of time squatting. We recommend researching whether or not MSM conflicts with any other medications in your current medical repertoire before adding a new supplement to the mix, but MSM works for us, and we think it can work for you. MSM doubles as a non-invasive anti-inflammatory– the fact that it helps stave off degenerative joint disease is just a bonus.
Seed Tape To Limit Eye Strain
Seed Tape, which makes small seeds easier to see, is a super-useful tool for people with weak eyes or hands. Tiny seeds come laced into compostable “tape” that allows gardeners to lay down rows of perfectly-spaced seeds to guarantee a well-sowed harvest. This product is ideal for people with a tremor or difficulty seeing small details– like whether or not a seed has been dropped into a hole of dirt. (With seed tape, this becomes obvious.)
Gardeners’ Tool Seat To Prevent Back Strain and Improve Posture
Uncommon goods’ gardeners tool seat allows gardeners to sit and rest while gardening with a supportive cushion. In addition to being a lightweight, waterproof chair, the seat also doubles as a stylish container for tools, and it looks way more elegant than many of the plastic-scooter alternatives. Those looking for a more “active” way to support their joints while gardening should read our article on How To Prevent Back Strain While Gardening, which has some useful insights on the proper way to bend and crouch to prevent body strain.
Foxgloves To Prevent Age Spots
Foxgloves have long been a favorite gardening glove for members of the GC team. These durable (and fashionable) gloves are thin, long-lasting, and sewn with SPF-blocking material that keeps sun-aged hands looking young.
Lifeguard Hat For Sun Protection
A lifeguard-style hat is the safest, surest way to prevent sunburn on the face and upper appendages when out in a sunny garden. The sun is strongest between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM, so it is recommended that the elderly and other populations vulnerable to heat stroke avoid gardening during those maximum hours of sunlight. And as usual: remember to stay hydrated and wear sunscreen.