By Dina Pittman, a gardening enthusiast with OA who describes herself as “too stubborn to give in when pain persists,” on her website, www.disabledgardener.com
Ten years ago, when I was finally able to purchase my dream property and expand my gardening space from a typical suburban plot to a 1.5-acre wooded lot, I thought my greatest challenge would be gardening in the shade.
But it turned out to be chronic pain! Continue reading Getting Back to Gardening
Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing,” is a traditional Japanese practice of immersing oneself in nature by mindfully using all five senses. But you don’t have to lose yourself in a forest to reap the health benefits of being in nature. Something as simple as a walk through a park or by a lake can pay off for your well-being, says Frances Kuo, PhD, founder and director of the Landscape and Human Health Lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“Even just looking at a rooftop garden for 40 seconds helps you sustain attention during mentally fatiguing tasks,” she says, citing a 2015 study. Here are more reasons to embrace the outdoors.
- More positive outlook. Participants in a small study who took a 90-minute nature walk, compared with those who walked through an urban environment, reported lower levels of ruminating (repetitive negative thoughts), a known risk for depression and other psychological conditions. They also showed reduced activity in an area of the brain linked to sadness and withdrawal.
- Better sleep. An Australian study of 259,319 people found that people living in neighborhoods with more greenspace were more likely to get eight hours of sleep nightly than those living in neighborhoods with less green space.
- Less pain. A landmark study published in the journal Science found that hospitalized patients whose windows looked onto a garden setting healed faster from surgery and required less pain medication than patients whose view was a brick wall.
- Sharper memory. When people took an hour stroll in a nature setting, their short-term memory improved by 20 percent, a study in Psychological Science found. Even looking at pictures of nature helped memory.
- Healthier heart. People whose homes have easier access to woods and parks had lower levels of blood-vessel-damaging adrenaline and higher levels of circulating angiogenic cells (CACs), which repair blood vessel damage, according to a study of cardiology patients.
Love fall gardening, but find it painful with arthritis? Try these hacks to avoid straining joints.
If You Can’t Crouch Down
Hack: Go vertical. Wall gardens are easy to tend while you’re standing or sitting up. Buy one ready-made or make your own by hanging plastic pots on a wall. “Keep the plants between waist and shoulder height,” says Julia Henderson-Kalb, an occupational therapist at Saint Louis University in Missouri.
Continue reading Gardening Hacks
Even if Jack Frost is still nipping at your nose, it’s not too early to get your garden growing. Whether you’re starting from seeds or seedlings, get a jump on planting with these tips that are easy on your joints.
Continue reading Six Tips to Make Starting Seeds a Breeze
Gardening has an abundance of health benefits including keeping you physically active and helping to lower anxiety and depression, both of which are linked to arthritis. Using the right tips and tools for the job can help ease any gardening task. Our experts share how to grow your green thumb.
Continue reading Gardening Benefits for Arthritis
Springtime brings out the gardener in us all. But it can be tough on the joints. Air plant gardening requires no shovel, no soil, no watering can, but the results can be spectacular. Just ask Carolyn Kosanouvong-Walker of Fresno, California, who began air plant gardening as a creative way to ease stress and take her mind off the pain of her juvenile arthritis.
“What I love about air plants is that they are simple to manage and come in different sizes and types,” says Kosanouvong-Walker, 45, who was diagnosed at age 3.
Continue reading Make Gardening a Breeze With Air Plants
Gardening can be a pain-free hobby for people living with arthritis—all you need is a little planning and creativity.
Continue reading Gardening with Arthritis: Tips for Preventing Joint Pain