Gardening especially beneficial for seniors

Gardeners who spend time tending to their plants in the yard and in the greenhouse could be getting hidden benefits from their activities, it has been revealed.

While being outside in the sun boosts the bodys supply of vitamin D, the physical side of gardening can prove to be a useful form of exercise, especially in older people, according to a study from Kansas State University.

A common problem in older people is lack of mobility of the joints in the hands – something that can be counteracted by regular gardening work, explained Candice Shoemaker, professor of horticulture at Kansas State University.

"One of the things we found is that older adults who are gardeners have better hand strength and pinch force, which is a big concern as you age," she said.

"Theres a lot of natural motivation in gardening. For one thing, you know theres a plant youve 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, theyll realise that they dont have to walk around the mall to get exercise."

The North Jefferson News recently reported that an Alabama middle school has announced plans to set up a school garden where pupils would be helped by local senior citizens.