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Gardening is Good for You
You might love gardening because of the connection it offers with nature, the nutritious vegetables it produces for your family or the way coming home to a beautifully landscaped acreage makes you feel.
Now, researchers at Kansas State University are saying the act of gardening offers health benefits, too: It can offer enough moderate physical activity to keep older adults in shape, keep older hands strong and nimble, and improve self-esteem.
"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, KSU professor of horticulture.
Shoemaker is part of a KSU research team 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 American Society for Horticultural Science publication, HortScience, published information in February based on 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 ...
Copyright 2009 BowTie Inc.
Great Gardening Tools
By Amy Grisak
Thankfully, whether you prefer to stand and weed, or wallow right down in the dirt wrestling dandelions out of the ground, you can discover the ideal match to your gardening style.
Finding the perfect tool can take years of trial and error; or better yet, talk to fellow gardeners about their favorites. Most are more than happy to host an impromptu “show and tell” touting the positive attributes of their most functional implements.
Here are a few that are bound to make life much easier:Hand Trowel: The hand trowel is one of the most used tools in the garden, particularly during planting season when it becomes an extension of your arm during planting season. A hand trowel makes quick work of digging the holes, then replacing the dirt around the seedlings. It’s also handy when you need to carefully lift summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and calla lilies at the end of the season, and plant spring bulbs in the fall.
CobraHead Tools: Ever wish you could take your fingernail and pluck out a tenacious weed? With the CobraHead you can, as well as cultivate, make furrows for planting, dig holes and much more. The curved steel neck is tipped with a wicked blade that stays remarkably sharp even with abusive treatment. And the best part is the blade doesn’t pull out of the molded handle no matter how hard you’re digging. CobraHead makes a small hand version for working on the ground, or a long-handled tool to be able to stand and work.
Garden Fork: Whether you’re turning compost or digging potatoes, a sturdy spading fork will do the trick. A garden fork is shorter than a pitchfork with a ‘D’ handle at the end making it efficient in digging through heavy soil with its sturdy, flat tines.
By-pass Pruners: By-pass pruners make a clean cut with one sharpened blade on the top passing over an unsharpened one on the bottom in a scissors-like fashion--unlike an anvil pruner that tends to crush stems. Look for a curved, ergonomic handle design to minimize wrist fatigue. Sharp by-pass pruners can just as easily snip fresh herbs for the evening meal, cut roses or other flowers, as trim tough branches on fruit trees and shrubs.
3-Pronged Cultivator: This metal claw makes quick work of shallow weeds, and is very effective in incorporating compost in the soil or preparing the soil for seedbeds. It’s available as a hand t...
Copyright 2009 BowTie Inc.