Senior citizens interested in improving their health this year may want to get some gardening gloves and vegetable seeds and head outside.
A new study from Kansas State University determined the act of gardening meets the physical activity recommendation set forth by the CDC. Past research found gardening may improve mental health and reduce depression, especially in older people.
Gardening can influence whole-body bone mineral density because researchers found it included activities such as pushing a mower, digging holes, pulling weeds and carrying soil.
Approximately 14 gardeners, ranging in age from 63 to 86 years old, participated in the study.
The CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of "moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week" to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Another benefit to gardening can be growing vegetables to enhance one's whole food nutrition. Planting foods such as carrots can improve one's health with vitamins.
The study also found the gardeners worked the most during the months of May, June, and July, presumably because of the warmer weather and ample sunlight. Being outside and getting exposed to sunlight can boost a senior's vitamin D intake, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and other conditions.