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Think you know AARP? What you don’t know about us may surprise you. Discover all the ‘Real Possibilities’

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Fitness through Gardening

Gardening offers spiritual fulfillment along with a physical workout.

Nancy Jessen, 84, raised eight children before being widowed. These days, her gardening keeps her fit and is a source of personal satisfaction. "I get a thrill out of watching things grow," explained Jessen, of Nevada City, Calif.

"It can be really hard work, especially if you don't have good soil," she said. "It's frustrating to plant things and then have the deer or gophers or rabbits come in and have a feast at your expense."

Nancy's gardening skills were honed through a Master Gardener program. Currently, her area has more than 60 Master Gardeners, and the new class looks to be the best one yet. Continuing to participate, Nancy donates well over the required 25 hours per year, besides accumulating 12 hours of continuing education.

Gardening is a major interest but not Nancy's only one. She is past president of her local Fire Auxiliary, a member of Senior Mountaineers, a member of her church, and a charter member of a local investment group. Also, once or twice a month, she visits patients she came to know during her husband’s illness.

Nancy is doing what experts tell us all to do. She has found an activity (in this case, gardening) that she loves to do, and as a happy by-product, she keeps herself exceptionally fit.

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