February 4, 2009
Gardening boosts older adults’ self-esteem
Gardening has been shown to help older adults stay in shape, but U.S. researchers also found it improves hand strength and self-esteem.
Candice Shoemaker, a Kansas State University professor of horticulture, said older adults who are gardeners have better hand strength and pinch force, which is a big concern as you age.
Shoemaker and colleagues Mark Haub, an associate professor of human and nutrition, and Sin-Ae Park, a research associate in horticulture, said the current research comes from an earlier study that assessed 15 areas of health in older adults, from both those who garden and those who don't. The researchers looked at measurements like bone mineral density, sleep quality, physical fitness, hand strength and psychological well-being.
The study, appearing in HortScience, found that with gardening tasks older adults can, among other things, improve their hand strength and self-esteem.
There's a lot of natural motivation in gardening, Shoemaker said in a statement.
For one thing, you know there's a plant you've got to go out and water and weed to keep alive. 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.