Gardening Tips for Seniors

by on October 21st, 2010
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If you’re reading this article you probably love gardening, and in the innocence of youth thought it would be eons before your knees would creak and your back would hurt. Then, all of a sudden, you’re “almost” a senior citizen–albeit, a young one at heart–and your knees pop, the back gets tweaked and you wonder if you’ll have to give up gardening. No way … at least not if you follow these gardening tips for seniors. Take the advice given and you should still be able to enjoy your favorite hobby for years to come.

Stretch before planting. Yes, everyone knows stretching is a good thing. And you probably don’t want to do it because you want to jump into gardening, not spend time exercising. After all, you didn’t have to stretch in your twenties and thirties. Ah yes, but that might have been twenty years ago, right? Stretching your muscles before you bend to plant flowers, vegetables, or trees and bushes, helps prevent muscle strains. It also improves flexibility and range of motion for joints.

Lie/sit on the ground.
There’s a senior in my neighborhood who grows amazing flowers, and since she’s much more senior than I am, I wondered how she did it. It became apparent one day when I drove past and saw her lying on the ground, pulling weeds and obviously enjoying the feel of sunshine on her back. If you feel embarrassed about doing it in the front yard, try it in the back.

Build raised beds. Raised garden beds give two benefits. First, you don’t have to lean down as far and can avoid bending and stooping, which is a major benefit for knees and back. Second, it’s easier to weed, water, and harvest from a raised bed. Yahoo! Voices has excellent articles and videos on building raised beds.

Purchase gardening knee pads. There are a variety of knee pads for those whose hobby consists of time spent kneeling … with a portion of that time spent praying over wilting plants!There are flat pads that you put down and pick up as you move, as well as knee pads that strap onto your knees. Several of the flat pads have cute designs and has a particularly cute one with daisies that most women would love.

Try a garden cart. Are you still carrying things around in that old wheelbarrow with the rusted bed and an almost flat tire? You know the kind … the one that stops short on every little bump and throws you headfirst into the load of manure you’re moving. The “mature” years are a good time for gardening seniors to switch from a wheelbarrow to a garden cart. There are ones available that pull like a wagon or ones with large wheels that can easily be pushed. Depending on your senior aches and pains, a new garden cart might do the trick. Try them at gardening centers and home improvement stores such as Home Depot.

In conclusion, these gardening tips for seniors–stretch before planting, lie on the ground, build raised beds, purchase gardening knee pads, and use a garden cart–will let you enjoy planting flowers, vegetables, trees and bushes, long into your senior years. Not to mention help you maintain good health and a happy frame of mind because you’re enjoying the hobby you love.

Mayo Clinic Staff, “Fitness: Stretching and Flexibility.”

Other articles by this contributor.

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