Easy Gardening For A Happy Retirement

Written by Sally Perkins

After retirement, it’s important to keep an active lifestyle and avoid being sedentary. Staying active and keeping busy is the best way to maintain good health. Researchers found that retirees who did a moderate activity like gardening were two and a half times more likely to age in a healthy way. Doing gardening as a hobby you get to do a lot of exercises every day. All the daily activity of kneeling, bending, carrying tools, digging in the dirt, is a great way to stay healthy and in good shape. As a retiree, you can add years to your life if you start a garden at home. Additionally, think of all the healthy fresh produce you’ll get to eat and the money you’ll save on vegetables and fruits. More and more people are being drawn to the process of putting their hands in the dirt, digging and creating something beautiful.

Health Benefits of gardening

Taking up gardening goes beyond keeping you active and cutting down on grocery bills. When you grow vegetables your diet improves as you tend to eat the vegetables you grow. But it’s not just your diet that gets better, as you share your produce with your family and friends, you’ll help them eat healthy as well. With that said, spending time outdoors tending the garden and getting a decent exposure to sunlight fights off dementia and boosts your immune system.

Gardening tasks also keep you occupied and give you a sense of achievement. Studies show that being in a natural environment has therapeutic effects and reduces stress and anxiety. The same goes for participating in a community garden where you get to meet fellow gardeners, share tips and make new friends. Having a diminished social life is one of the problems of retirement. But with gardening, you could join a community that helps expand your social circle and network of friends.

Gardening made easier

If you suffer from low stamina and limited mobility, you might find gardening challenging. This might have a negative impact on your experience in the garden especially if it’s difficult to get around. However, the good news is there are ways to make gardening easy for you even if you have back pain and your joints are not as flexible as they used to be. Consider for example using waist-high raised beds. That way you can do your gardening standing up and remove the need to bend down altogether.

Now you can seed, weed, and harvest with putting pressure on your back. Vertical gardening is another way to eliminate the need to bend down. Some vegetables like melons, squash, and cucumbers grow well when trellised. With your plants at face level, it’s easy to walk around and tend to your vegetable patches. Remember to place stools and benches in your garden for rest. Stone benches are durable, functional and versatile. They also don’t require much maintenance.

Tools of the trade

If your knees hurt and you can’t kneel down easily, you should use a kneeler stool. These are stools that have a thick foam pad for the knee. You can also flip it over and it becomes a comfortable stool to sit on. It is also worth mentioning that when you squat down to weed in the garden always keep your heels on the ground. Lifting your heels puts a strain on your ligaments. Or you could try kneeling with just one knee down.

Ergonomic pruners are specially designed to be easy to use. They have comfortable handles and require less effort to cut than normal pruners. One thing to remember, however, is to always keep your wrist in a natural position. Twisting your wrist or bending it down at an angle for a prolonged time might lead to tendonitis. Also, make sure the pruners you use are the right size for you. When you hold the closed pruner in your hand, the handle should fit in your palm. Getting a pruner that is either too big or too small for you will put a strain on your hand and diminish your grip.

What to plant?

Finally, you should choose plants that are easy to grow. Plants that don’t need lots of attention and aren’t prone to disease or insect infestation are the best choice. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots are some of the easiest plants to grow and maintain in your garden. You can grow them in containers or in mounded soil. And apart from sowing the seeds and watering them, you won’t need to do much else. They practically grow from seeds and don’t require much care or maintenance.

If you’re new to gardening then you’ll need to wrap your head around the basics. There are plenty of books and information online to get you started. But if you really want to get the best tips then you should ask another gardener. You can find enthusiastic gardeners in community gardens and garden clubs. Most are more than willing to give advice and help a novice fellow gardener get their hands dirty, so to speak. And when all is said and done, what’s a better way to increase your home’s curb appeal than with a well maintained and beautiful garden?

How a Canine Companion Could Help You Live Longer

Article provided by Acorn Stairlifts

We always strive to learn the secrets to living longer. One of the secrets appears to be the companionship of man’s best friend.

A study conducted in Sweden has recognized a link between owning a dog and reduced risk of early death. The study involved 3.4 million Swedes aged 40 – 80 found there was a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease or other conditions linked to early death among those people who owned a dog.

The large study was made possible to be carried out in Sweden for two mains reasons. First, anyone who owned a dog must register it officially and, second, all visits to the hospital and treatments are accurately recorded. This made is possible to compare national databased for dog ownership with those for hospital visits covering the periods between 2001 – 2012.

Researchers found a marked reduction in the number of early deaths among dog owning households in their study, especially from cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of death worldwide. In Addition, they found the risk of early death from cardiovascular disease and other causes was reduced by up to a third among people who lived alone if they owned a dog.

Details found the a Swedish databased even enabled them to pinpoint specific types of dog which seemed to have a more beneficial effect. Owners of breeds that traditionally hunt, such as terriers, retrievers and scene hound, appeared to have the lowest risk of early deaths.

It would be possible to duplicate the study in the USA, because it is not compulsory to register dog ownership here, but there is nothing to suggest that its conclusions would not be replicated. The conclusion is that dog owners are more active, because they have to take their pets on walks at least once a day, some breeds can even require more than once a day. So, there are several well-proven health benefits of remaining active and taking regular exercise. Even the evidence about different breeds seems to back this up, as hunting breeds require more walks because they are more energetic than other types of dogs, such as lapdogs.

People may already be active and choosing to own a dog, rather than the dog forcing them to become active, but in either case there is a link between dog ownership and regular physical activity

However, there might be more to the health benefits of dog ownership than physical activity alone. The Swedish study found particularly pronounced benefits for single people and since they are unlikely to all be exercising more than dog owners in multiple households, there must be something else going on. The researchers speculated that the companionship of owning a dog could alleviate psychological stress factors for single people, such as social isolation, depression and loneliness.

All these factors have previously been linked to increased risk of early death from CVD and other causes. It isn’t just that the dog is providing companionship in the home; it also means the dog owner is likely to get out and about more, meeting and interacting with other people, especially other dog walkers. There is also evidence that owning a dog helps people to recover and rehabilitate more quickly following an accident or medical procedure.

There could also be another link between dog ownership and more robust health, operating at a microscopic level. Dog owners have been found to have a different “microbiome” to non-dog owners, the “microbiome” being the collection of microscopic species which live in a person’s gut. This is because the dust and household dirt in a dog owner’s home environment is influenced by the dog, and low-level exposure to these additional bacteria can help a dog owner’s immune system become generally more resistant to infection and disease.

Senior author of the Swedish study, Tove Fall, said while it did demonstrate a link between dog ownership and reduced risk of early death, it did not set out to prove causes for that link. More specific work would be needed in order to do that. He also acknowledged that rather than dogs causing a healthy lifestyle among their owners, it could be that people who already favored a healthy lifestyle chose to own dogs as part of it.

Reacting to the study, Dr. Mike Knapton, from the British Heart Foundation, said previous studies had already shown a link between owning a dog and having a reduced risk of heart disease, but never on such a large scale as the Swedish study.

“Dog ownership has many benefits and we may now be able to count better heart health as one of them,” he said. “Whether you’re a dog owner or not, keeping active is a great way to improve your heart health.”

The 4 Friends Everyone Needs For A Happy Retirement 

Written by Sally Perkins

Retiring is more than just finding things to do with your time and having enough money to live well. A happy retirement also depends on who you’re spending that precious time with. Research has found that friends tend to matter more than family members when it comes to good health. A study from the University of Michigan asked 271,053 participants about happiness, health, and relationships, and found that while relationships with family members had a fixed effect on health, valued friendships improved people’s functioning and well-being as they got older. Although it’s easy to fall into the trap of going separate ways from your friends as life takes you in different directions, it’s important to maintain friendships during retirement.

Here are five friends everyone should have for a happier, healthier retirement.

The Childhood Friend

Research by the Psychology Bulletin found that friendship networks reach a high in one’s twenties, but these social circles get smaller with age. If you’re lucky enough to still have friends from childhood and early adulthood, you should hold onto them dearly. These friends can help to keep you youthful with the memories you’ve created over the years. They also know you more than other types of friends, which means they make great confidantes and company on lonely days. Research from the University of California, San Francisco, tracked 1,600 people around the age of 71 and found that lonely people experienced difficulties with daily activities, while they also had higher levels of mortality. Scarily, almost 23 percent of them died within six years, compared with the 14 percent who weren’t lonely. Reach out to your old friends – it’ll save your life!

The Hobby Friend

Having a friend who loves to try new things and has lots of hobbies could be very good for you by increasing your interests. Studies have found that when people in retirement had three or four hobbies, they were happier than people with fewer hobbies. The hobbies that increased people’s happiness included volunteering, golf, and travel. This is because hobbies that encourage social interaction are better for people than hobbies that can be pursued alone, such as reading. Being social and learning new things is great to maintain brain health as you get older. Another study found that being highly social reduces your dementia risk by 70 percent! So go on and call up your friend who loves to play a round of golf or holiday in Hawaii.

The Financially Savvy Friend

Everyone has a friend who knows all the latest business and finance trends. This friend might be older than you with lots of life experience. He/she is especially valuable to you they’ve been retired for a while as they can help you make the transition into retirement much smoother. They’ll be clued up on things like protecting your family’s future. This might not seem important in the early days of your retirement happiness, but it is. By having someone who’s gained experience when it comes to the financial aspects of retirement, you’ll experience less stress.

A study by the University of Michigan monitored elderly people for nine years to find out what they worried about. It was found that the frequency and intensity of their worries increased dramatically for all of them over nine years. Common worries for the elderly included the health of, and difficulties related to, family members. The reason for the increase in worry, the study found, was linked to the seniors feeling they had less control in life. By ensuring your financial portfolio and insurance are sorted out, you can decrease worries related to the financial well-being of your family, which puts you in greater control of your life.

In another study by Cornell University, when researchers asked 1,200 elders what their biggest life regrets are, many said they wished they had spent less time worrying. By taking action on the things you worry about, such as money and insurance, with the help of your financially savvy friend, you can spend less time worrying and more time living!

The Worker Bee Friend

Ideally, you don’t want to feel the pressure to continue working into your retirement to make ends meet. That can be very stressful. However, with lots more time on your hands, it might be a good idea to pursue the types of jobs that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time for. That’s why a friend who’s continuing to work in odd jobs that make her happy is a great inspiration to you. Not only will you be inspired to stay busy but you’ll be making wonderful use of the gift of spare time given to you. Choose something that you’re really passionate about. The money you earn from it is just a bonus. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that when people in retirement had temporary or part-time jobs, they experienced fewer major diseases, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, when compared to people who completely stopped working when they retired.

There are many benefits to having friends such as the above when you retire. They’ll keep you young, support you, keep you active and remind you to chase your passions, proving that retirement is the perfect new beginning to start living life your way!