It might be hard to believe with all the snow and ice, but spring is on the way! It’s almost time to put away your snow shovels, and get out your gardening trough. Besides being an enjoyable hobby and a great way to get some much-needed Vitamin D after the long winter- gardening has many health benefits. In fact, it’s a great way to enhance your core wellness.
It’s exercise without seeming like exercise: pulling weeds can increase strength; bending and reaching improve mobility and flexibility; and staying in the garden a long time can improve endurance. Beyond the physical benefits, it can be something social to do with a spouse, friend or neighbor. In addition, it’s a great way to relieve stress and provides a sense of achievement.
Like many, you may feel that gardening has become more physically taxing with age. But a lifelong love of gardening should not have to end. Here are some simple tips that will make the garden continue to be a place of enjoyment:
- Invest in the Right Tools. Look for lightweight hand tools with rubber or ergonomic handles. If you already have good gardening tools, consider wrapping the handle in foam tubing like the kind used in pipe insulation. The foam is inexpensive and you can find it at any hardware store. Using tools like handle extenders or reachers can reduce bending and stretching and is highly recommended if you have back problems or arthritis.
- Build Raised Beds. Reduce the amount of bending and stretching by raising the garden bed. Stand with your arms at your side; the perfect height for a flower bed is where your fingertips touch.
- Consider Container Gardens. Containers are easier to manage than a garden and can be great for planting colorful flowers as well as vegetables. Get creative by planting in colorful pots, old wheelbarrows, or buckets. Deeper containers work well for vegetables.
- Plan for Year-Round Gardening. Replace annuals in your garden with perennials or bulbs that require less work to maintain from year to year. You can plant bulbs all through the summer and late into fall, allowing you to stagger planting times and choose plants that bloom at different times.
Whether you like to grow flowers or vegetables- use these tips to help you continue doing what you love.