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The Benefits of Gardening for People with Disabilities

Gardening can be a great activity for everyone in the family. Outside of the obvious benefit of eating healthy, home-grown food, gardening is also a great way to engage in physical activity, socialize with others, and feel like you are being productive. For those with disabilities, gardening can have some tremendous benefits. Let’s explore a few of these below.

Physical Activity

Gardening requires work. There’s a good chance that you’ll be bending, pulling, digging, weeding, and sweating. This is a good thing. But, does gardening give you enough physical activity? Science Daily suggests that it does. According to a recent study, common gardening tasks give you moderate to high-intensity physical activity.

Gardening gives you a chance to get outside and engage in some good old-fashioned physical activity. It gets the blood circulating and releases your endorphins. It also keeps you limber and improves muscle and joint performance. All this adds up to one thing: Gardening is a great way to get moving and stay active.

A Social Outlet

Staying at home all the time can kill your mental and emotional health. It also destroys your social vibe. People who stay indoors suffer from depression, social anxiety disorder, obesity, and a ton of health problems. Gardening gets you out of the house and in touch with others.

You can participate in gardening activities while meeting new people and learning new things. If possible, try to find gardening clubs or groups in your community. Connect with other gardeners and form positive relationships with those around you. Gardening can help you improve your social life as a part of living in a stable and secure home life.

Holistic Treatment

The purpose of holistic treatment is to heal the mind, body, and soul. Holistic treatment offers a more well-rounded approach to treating those with mental disorders or physical disabilities. Many therapists will use alternative methods to treatment such as gardening as a part of a broader holistic treatment program. According to Psychology Today, gardening has the following benefits:

  • Gardening gives you a sense of responsibility and care.
  • You can promote your innate sense of nurturing.
  • You stay connected to nature and living things.
  • Gardening helps you release high levels of serotonin and dopamine (hormones that make you feel fantastic).
  • You can relax and just let go without worrying about the cares of the world.
  • Being in nature makes you live in the present moment.

Promotes Motor and Cognitive Skills

Gardening requires different types of activities, which, in turn, require different types of movement — particularly with the hands and fingers. Think about the activities involved in gardening:

  • Repotting or transplanting seedlings and sprouts
  • Picking produce from the plant
  • Planting seeds or bulbs
  • Weeding the garden bed
  • Pruning plants such as a bonsai tree
  • Scooping dirt with a trowel

By honing these activities, you can improve hand-eye coordination, keep your muscles and joints flexible, and learn or re-learn how to grasp and hold objects. In addition, you can also enhance gross motor skills by participating in more substantial activities such as pushing a wheelbarrow, digging holes with a shovel, chopping firewood, or using a rake to spread mulch around the garden.

All these activities help develop hand-eye coordination while using other muscles throughout the body. They also provide opportunities for early intervention in child development.

Giving Back to the Community

With the rise of community gardens and farmers markets throughout the U.S., gardening presents plenty of opportunities to volunteer and give back to your community. What better way to spend your time than to provide for our basic needs and help produce delicious, healthy fruits and vegetables. Gardening gives you a sense of purpose that you are a part of something greater than yourself. You are helping out in a unique and valuable way.

Resources for Enabled Gardening

If you want to start a garden for yourself or someone else, here are a few online resources on enabled gardening to help get you started:

About Rise Services

Rise Services offers a wide range of opportunities and services that move individuals from institutions into family settings. We support children, adults, and families with a variety of needs. Some of our services include residential settings, day programs, employment assistance, managed care, and home and community-based services. To find out more about Rise, visit our contact page and learn about services in your state.