Gardening is important for older adults and a research study published in HortScience (44:6-223, 2009) validates what we have intuitively know. The study, “Physical and Psychological Health Conditions of Older Adults Classified as Gardeners or Nongardeners”, was conducted by Candice A. Shoemaker, Ph.D. and Mark D. Haub at Kansas State University. The results of the study indicate that “active gardeners and gardeners had greater hand strength and pinch force than non-gardeners.” The implications are that gardening, which is a physical activity, will help seniors to stay in shape as well as improve hand strength.
Candice Shoemaker was interviewed by United Press International regarding the study and was quoted as saying that “older adults who are gardeners have better strength and pinch force, which is important as you age.” Dr. Shoemaker believes that “there’s a lot of natural motivation in gardening, 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.” Gardening is a lot more interesting because you are outside in nature which is ever changing. Therefore, the results indicate that gardening improves the physical health of older adults and it also improves the person’s self-esteem. The link to the UPI article can be found at: