Tending a garden may keep seniors in shape

Seniors who tend to a tomato patch or grow flowers in the backyard may be doing more for their health than they realize.

New research from Kansas State University has found gardening offers enough moderate physical activity to keep senior citizens in shape.

The finding, published in the February edition of HortScience, stated seniors who gardened regularly had better hand strength, overall physical health and self esteem when compared to those who did not garden.

Tending a garden may keep seniors in shape

"If we had a larger sample I think we would see more health differences between those who garden and those who don't, including in areas like sleep quality and life satisfaction," said Sin-Ae Park, a research associated who worked on the study.

Researchers found the physical activity from gardening meets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's exercise recommendation for moderate activity level.

"If we get the message out there that older adults can get health benefits from gardening, they'll realize that they don't have to walk around the mall to get exercise," said Candice Shoemaker, K-State professor of horticulture.

Seniors who grow vegetables in their garden may also benefit from whole food nutrition.

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