Filed under: Aging in place, Alzheimer Residence, Assisted Living, Baby Boomers, Community Gardens, Continue Care Retirement Communities, Gardening, Healing Gardens, Horticultural Therapy, Landscape Architecture, landscape design, Meditation Gardens, Organic gardens, Restorative gardens, Senior Environment Assessment, Senior Living, Successful Aging, Sustainability, Sustainable design, Therapeutic Gardens
We lose muscle as we age. This is a fact. As we get older, our muscles shrink. However, we do not have to sit back and think that there is nothing we can do about it. Exercise can reverse this trend. The old adage, ‘use it or lose it’ takes on even more significance. A story on NPR’s Morning Edition today talks about the studies that are being conducted to show how exercise can help people build new muscle at any age. People in their 80′s who exercise with weights, as an example, increase muscle and get stronger. (A link to the story is below).
So, how does this translate to the garden? When we are outside moving a wheel barrow that is filled with tools or soil, we are in fact weight training. Digging holes for new plants, trimming shrubs, cutting branches, sweeping the walk, moving garden furniture, raking the lawn incorporate bending, stretching, reaching, and other movements that are good for us. The tools we are using act as weights and we are doing two things at the same time. We are working in our garden and simultaneously exercising in a very soothing gym. The result is that we are all rebuilding muscle that has been lost to a natural occurrence called aging. We are also creating a beautiful environment that we can all enjoy.
The garden is therapeutic. We can classify this aspect of gardening as good for our health. The activities listed above, and so many more, can be performed by people at any age. This is the active part of using the garden. We are creating gardens that we can look at and feel good about. We are also creating gardens in which we can exercise and improve our health. The link to the NPR 2-22-10 story can be found at:
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