The start of Spring brings the promise of warmer weather and flourishing wild life. As the Spring weather sets in, it’s much easier to enjoy and explore the outdoors.
Spending time out in nature and participating in outdoor activities is correlated with improved mental health, cognitive function, and increased social interaction with the community. The sense of well-being that is felt by nature is especially beneficial and important for the older adult population. Research has shown that seniors who spend time in ample blue and green outdoor areas enjoy improved mental health, increased physical activity, and greater sense of vitality.
Here are some benefits to being out in nature for the older adult population:
- Increases energy stores. Being outside gives you a mental boost and can lead to increased energy rates. The outdoors also provides a source of natural Vitamin D levels which also leads to higher energy levels and better mood.
- Helps reduce depression. There is a direct link of being outside and lowering depression and perceived stress, leading to enhanced well-being. This is especially true when linked to physical activity.
- Decreases chronic illness and pain. People who spend more time outdoors has been shown to decrease risk of heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses. Being outside also helps to get a better night’s sleep and heal faster from injuries.
- Helps boost immunity. Being outdoors can help build and support a healthy immune system.
- Increases longevity. Research has shown that exposure to outdoor green spaces has been associated with lowered mortality rates. Enjoying nature helps adults to live longer, more fulfilling lives. This can help seniors to lead healthier, more independent lives.
- Improves concentration and focus. Spending time outdoors forces the brain to take in the present moment and take a break from the business of multitasking on a daily basis. This encourages higher attention levels and improved mental health.
Many factors associated with aging, such as limited mobility and increase in chronic disease, may hinder the ability of older adults to explore new places and limit their access to new places or activities. This can lead to feelings of isolation and stagnancy in their daily routine, hindering happiness. This is why it’s especially important for older adults to engage with the outdoors.
Don’t know where to start? Our Happier at Home caregivers can help your loved one engage in these activities and explore nature:
- Gardening is a low-impact activity perfect for the older adult population.
- Go to a local park and take a nature walk.
- Find a space plentiful with greenspace to share a picnic, sit by a fountain, or walk through a garden.
- Connect with nature through birdwatching, or hang a birdfeeder outside a senior’s window.
- Stock up on healthy foods and pick strawberries, raspberries, apples, or fruit of another variety.
- Spend time by a body of water. Being by running water can promote feelings of relaxation and well-being.