Senior Living Care Blog

The Benefits Of the Outdoors For Seniors

Posted by Joe Gilmore on Jun 4, 2019 11:00:00 AM

 

Spending time outdoors can lead to a number of overall health and wellness benefits. The outdoors offers many opportunities for people to be physically active. It should also be noted that spending time outdoors may also help to improve and promote mental health and stress reduction.

 

Participating in some outdoor activities, even for a short period of time, can lead to a number of benefits. Activities like hiking, swimming, gardening all provide positive benefits when it comes to your physical and mental health.

 

Benefits Of Being Outside

One of the most obvious benefits of the outdoors coming in the form of sunlight and ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can stimulate the production of vitamin D in the skin. Someone with little or no sun exposure may put them at risk of low levels of vitamin D, however, if someone is exposed to too much sun it can lead to increased risk of skin cancers and eye disease.

 

It should be noted that the amount of vitamin D a person’s skin makes when they are in the sun depends on a number of factors including skin tone, geographic location, weather conditions, time of year, and time of day.

 

Physical Health Benefits

A woman practicing yoga on the moutains. The benefits of the outdoors for seniors are are very high.

It is easy to understand how being active outdoors can provide you or your loved one with benefits to your physical health. Any sort of activity, whether it’s hiking or sports, will get your heart rate up and work to improve things like obesity and cardiovascular health. These things can also help with things like balance, a serious issue for seniors. In fact, falls are a major problem in the senior community. In fact, about three million older people are treated in emergency departments each year for fall injuries.

 

Mental Health Benefits

According to a study from the Frontiers in Psychology, there is growing evidence to suggest that exposure to natural environments that are associated with mental health benefits. Proximity to these environments has been associated with lower levels of stress, and reduced symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

 

Outdoor Activities

Some people may understand that there are a number of benefits associated with being outdoors and staying active, but many may not know where exactly to begin. There are a number of outdoor activities that you can jump into today to get yourself going.

 

Gardening

An older woman holding plants she is about to put in her garden. The benefits of the outdoors for seniors are very high.

Gardening is an effective way for seniors to create a healthy and active lifestyle. One study published by Kansas State University found that gardening is a great way for seniors to shed calories and increased flexibility

 

Some of the health benefits associated with gardening include:

  • Increased physical fitness
  • Access to nutritious, organic herbs, and fruits
  • Increased mobility and flexibility
  • Enhanced strength
  • Sense of accomplishment and pride
  • Reduced stress

 

Swimming

A woman swimming laps in the pool. The benefits of the outdoors for seniors are very high.

Swimming is one of the most popular activities in the United States and a great way to get regular physical activity. Even two and a half hours per week of aerobic physical exercise like swimming can help to decrease the risk of chronic illness.

 

Water-based exercises can go a long way in improving both physical and mental health functioning. It will also help to improve joints and help with symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Hiking

A group of elderly women hiking. The benefits of the outdoors for seniors are very high.

We know that hiking holds a number of health benefits. Obviously, physical exercise is one thing, but there is also an emotional and mental relief that comes from being out and about and in nature.

 

Hiking will help to build stronger bones, muscles, and help with heart health. Hiking will also help to improve your sense of balance, something that seniors need. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over three million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries each year.

 

A Stanford-led study found that walking or hiking around in nature could lead to a lower risk of depression. The study found that people who walked for 90 minutes in a natural area as opposed to a high-traffic urban setting, showed decreased activity in a region of the brain that was associated with depression.

 

Sports

A basketball on the basketball court. The benefits of the outdoors for seniors are very high.

There are a number of outdoor activities that can improve your livelihood and overall health. Some common sports that seniors participate in include golf, tennis and more. These sports will not only help seniors improve their mental and emotional health, but it will also help to get them active and moving and improve physical health, flexibility, and weight regulation.

 

It is widely accepted that regular participation in tennis offers the user a number of mind and body health benefits for young and veteran players. Some of the health benefits associated with tennis include higher aerobics, lower resting heart rate, and blood pressure responses, improved reaction time, and decreased stress.

 

There are a number of ways that you can get active and stay outdoors, and participating in these things can hold a number of positive physical and mental health benefits. This includes reduced stress and reduced symptoms for depression and anxiety.

 

Next Steps

It is clear that being active outdoors holds a number of positive health benefits both physically and mentally. Participating in activities like hiking, swimming, gardening, and more can all work to improve your overall well-being and help reduce stress and symptoms related to anxiety and depression. While this type of work and exercise can be beneficial, it becomes harder to do as we age. In fact, some people remain physically or mentally incapable of doing these activities safely.

 

Fortunately, there are resources available for seniors who struggle with these issues as well as other day-to-day activities. Caregivers and assisted-living facilities are available to those who need help. Landmark Senior Living at Longwood is one facility that is dedicated to helping all of our residents with whatever they need. We have a qualified, dedicated staff on site to help with whatever medical problems they need help with, including memory care. If you are interested in learning more about what Landmark Senior Living can offer your loved one, please visit our website and schedule a complimentary walkthrough of one of our facilities.

 

Learn More Here!

 

Topics: Senior Activities

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