Beans, potatoes, carrots, and self-esteem…growing in our little garden at St. Anne’s

vegetable garden

This past week, we planted a little vegetable garden in a soil-filled bathtub on our west patio. But did you know that gardening is actually considered “moderate cardiovascular exercise” by the CDC, according to one online article. It burns calories (200-300 per hour) and doing so several times a week can be a good way to fight obesity, according to this same source.

They also noted that, according to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, “gardening can benefit people who are recovering from physical illness by retraining their muscles and improving coordination and strength.” Gardening is also good in that it causes you to stretch and move around. It is a form of exercise which is easier for people with certain health challenges that make more strenuous exercise not practical, according to the below-mentioned CNN article.
However, suggests that one change body positioning frequently to avoid “overusing or overburdening any one area of the body.” Proper bending technique (using the knees rather than the waist) is also recommended to avoid problems.
According to, gardening can increase your muscular volume and strength., An article by CNN cited some less tangible benefits of “getting down in the dirt,” including stress relief, fighting depression, and possibly even decreasing risk of dementia. They say that a bacteria found in soil can increase serotonin in the brain.
I started gardening with our residents last spring as a fun activity for them to enjoy. I don’t expect much of a vegetable yield from such a small space, but I do hope it yields the fruit of improved mood and a sense of accomplishment.

Why Activities? Activity Professionals Week – January 18-24

This week, I’d like to thank our activities staff for their hard work, not only in designing enjoyable activities but also for their efforts in getting people to actually attend.  We find that people sometimes get in a slump and need more than a little encouragement to get out of their rooms, even for things that are really fun and beneficial.  Here, our activity director shares some thoughts:

Why Activities?

By Shelly Mack, Activity Director at St. Anne’s

carnival (1)

Activities are not meant to keep Shelly and Dawn (my assistant) busy.  Activities are for the residents.  There is nothing worse than someone just sitting and staring at the wall day after day, when we have activities every day.  We try to have a variety: spiritual, educational, games of skill, exercises (this is chair exercise meant for everyone but a real struggle to get people to attend.  Exercise is proven to help mobility and prevent falls.  Come Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m., and give it a try!)

Dice games are pretty popular. Also, we are very lucky to have in-house musicians like Sr. Elaine, Chuck Gust and Sr. Christina, plus a guest group of music volunteers.  And of course, there is the ever-popular bingo – this is fun and you get a small prize to boot!  So, here’s a word of advice: let the paint on the wall dry and come give activities a try!

Anyone interested in helping with activities or sharing their talent may call Shelly at (701) 746-9401.