Taking time out of your busy day to complete a little bit of yard work might not appear to be a good use of your time, but new studies are finding that these short respites can hold some remarkable health benefits. Numerous recent studies are finding that investing time in simple yard maintenance tasks such as pulling weeds or dead heading flowers offers several health benefits. It is also important to note that these less strenuous activities provided the greatest benefit to older adults.
Simple Accomplishments Help Fight Depression
A large European study found that older adults greatly benefited from an increased feeling of accomplishment and had an increased sense of well-being after 30 minute sessions in their garden. These increased positive feelings are believed to ward off the decline of cognitive skills which is often associated with depression. Simple repetitive tasks such as dead heading provide both positive feelings of control over the situation and a visible sense of accomplishment for older adults who often feel that they have less control over their lives than they did earlier in life.
Invest 30 Minutes to Reduce Stress
A study completed in the Netherlands discovered that as little as 30 minutes of gardening decreased stress by reducing the levels of cortisol in the brain. These findings were further reinforced when the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that nature can play a significant role in eliminating the harmful side effects of stress. Nature calms the mind and relieves both stress and mental fatigue. The same study also found that even looking at a photo of a nature scene can increase clear headedness and problem solving abilities.
Simple Tasks to Clear Your Mind
So if you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, taking just 30 minutes to enjoy your yard can have a great impact on your emotional and mental state. The tasks don’t need to be labor intensive and in fact it is better that they require only minimal effort. This will allow your mind to decompress as you follow the repetitive motion of weeding, removing dead blooms from flowers or hand watering and tending to planters and potted plants around your yard or patio.
A Sense of Purpose for Seniors
These simple yet rejuvenating tasks are also wonderful for older adults who might feel listless or depressed. Daily tasks add meaning and purpose to the lives of seniors. Having something living to care for, even if it is just a few plants or a small garden, can provide a sense of accomplishment and help to decrease loneliness and depression.
Combining simple gardening tasks with fresh air and sunshine are the perfect way to take a break from a busy day and increase your mental clarity. It also offers a sense of accomplishment and a beautiful and tranquil garden for hours of enjoyment.