Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gardening Gives Older Adults Benefits Like Hand Strength And Self Esteem

Date:
February 17, 2009
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
Researchers already have shown that gardening can offer enough moderate physical activity to keep older adults in shape. The researchers also discovered that among the other health benefits of gardening is keeping older hands strong and nimble.

Among the other health benefits of gardening is keeping older hands strong and nimble.
Credit: iStockphoto/Thomas Voss

Researchers at Kansas State University already have shown that gardening can offer enough moderate physical activity to keep older adults in shape.

In research to be published in February in the journal HortScience, the researchers discovered that among the other health benefits of gardening is keeping older hands strong and nimble.

"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," said Candice Shoemaker, K-State professor of horticulture.

Shoemaker is part of a small team of K-State researchers studying the ways in which gardening affects the health of older adults. She works with Mark Haub, associate professor of human nutrition, and Sin-Ae Park, a research associate in horticulture who earned her doctorate in horticulture from K-State in December 2007.

The research appearing in HortScience in February comes from a 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.

"We found that with gardening tasks older adults can, among other things, improve their hand strength and self-esteem at the same time," Park said.

Although Shoemaker said that differences between gardeners and non-gardeners showed up in a few health assessments like hand strength, overall physical health and self esteem, results from some of the other areas were more ambiguous.

"If we had a larger sample I think we would see more health differences between those who garden and those who don't, including in areas like sleep quality and life satisfaction," she said.

The results about the positive impact of gardening on hand strength prompted Park and the researchers to explore this area further. They are now analyzing data from an eight-week horticulture therapy program that targeted hand strength in stroke patients.

"They did tasks like mixing soil and filling pots," Park said. "They had to use their hands all of the time, so that was good exercise -- and they really enjoyed it."

Park, Shoemaker and Haub recently garnered national news coverage for a study published in the journal HortTechnology. The study probed the physical impact of gardeners working in their own gardens. The researchers showed that older adults can use gardening to achieve a moderate activity level and meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's exercise recommendations.

The trio of researchers also published a study in the journal Perceptual and Motor Skills of the physical impact of individual gardening tasks. They found that a task like raking, which uses the whole body, had the most exercise benefit, whereas activities like mixing soil or transplanting seedlings give the most benefit to the upper body.

Shoemaker, who also researches gardening as a prevention strategy to childhood obesity, said that studying the physical benefits of gardening is important for older adults because gardening is a physically active hobby that provides an alternative to sports or other exercise.

"There's a lot of natural motivation in gardening," Shoemaker said. "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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Gardening Gives Older Adults Benefits Like Hand Strength And Self Esteem." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203142517.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2009, February 17). Gardening Gives Older Adults Benefits Like Hand Strength And Self Esteem. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203142517.htm
Kansas State University. "Gardening Gives Older Adults Benefits Like Hand Strength And Self Esteem." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090203142517.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins