As the robins are singing (albeit in the wee hours of the morning!) and the leaves are popping out of their buds, many people are eager to spend more time outside and enjoy all that mother nature has to offer.

For seniors, this means long, leisurely walks, finding quiet spots to soak up some of the sun’s rays or seeking solace in gardening.A man sits on a raised garden bed with dog in arms while a lady picks tomatoes.

Gardening can be relaxing and meditative and it gives you a great excuse to be outside. It helps to pass the time, is a stress reliever, it’s gratifying and bountiful, plus it’s a great form of exercise.

The only challenge is that gardening can be very physical. As we age, it becomes more and more difficult to work the soil, prepare the soil, weed and even plant. With a few adjustments, however, there are ways to keep hold of this rewarding pastime:

  • Build raised beds instead of having your garden at ground level. This will help with not having to bend over as much and not having to crouch or sit at ground level and then get up again. There are also some great designs for vertical gardens.
  • Take your time, pace yourself. Work smaller sections at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day; your garden doesn’t need to be planted all in one day either. It’s also a good idea to stretch before and after gardening to help keep you limber and avoid tight muscles.
  • Choose small bags of fertilizer, peat moss, and manure so that they are easier to handle. As well, choose tools carefully. Ensure they are light and have a grip that is suitable for you.
  • Choose pots instead of a garden plot or raised bed. There are beautiful arrangements that can be created with flowers or fantastic methods for growing vegetables.
  • Reduce your input. Yes, it’s very likely that you may have always had a half or one acre garden with 100 hills of potatoes, but you can don’t have to go to that extreme anymore. Plan to enjoy smaller quantities of fresh vegetables and don’t worry so much about storing enough the entire community for the whole winter!
  • It’s okay to take breaks. Be sure to have a comfortable place to sit and always keep a water bottle close by for when you need to rest and recharge.

If you’ve never gardened before, it’s not too late to start. It is an excellent, year-round hobby. As we’re faced with the long months of winter, it’s a great time to use the Internet or pick up gardening books from the local library to research and plan. There’s always plenty to learn.

Plus, you can use planters and put your green thumb to the test by growing whatever your heart desires indoors during the cold months.