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6 Benefits of Spending Time Outside for Seniors

senior friends walking in the park

If you’ve ever felt cooped up after being inside all day, or longed for some green space after a day of being surrounded by skyscrapers and concrete, this blog is for you. That desire for sunshine, blue skies and fresh air is your body telling it’s time to get outside. And after you consider all the benefits of being outdoors for seniors, it’s only natural to be out in nature.

Health Benefits Found in the Great Outdoors

Even if you’re an active senior who enjoys going to the gym, being active outdoors can add to your health benefits.

  1. 1. Increase physical health: Being physically active can help preserve muscle mass, which strengthens the heart and lungs. Movement helps reduce symptoms and the progression of arthritis and can also lessen the risk of diabetes and respiratory and cardiovascular issues.
  2. 2. Boost immunity: Being outside can increase white blood cell count, which can help you fight off the flu and other colds.
  3. 3. Reduce stress: Studies have shown that spending just 20 minutes in nature helped lower stress hormone levels. And being in the sunshine has also been shown to triggering the release of the feel good hormone serotonin
  4. 4. Boost vitamin D: It only takes 15 minutes of sunlight exposure to get your daily dose of vitamin D. For seniors, this important nutrient works to lessen risks of osteoporosis, cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also improve feelings of depression and help your body better absorb calcium, which helps strengthen bones, teeth, nails and muscles. If you’re going to be outside for more than 15 minutes, be sure to wear your sunscreen. You can still absorb vitamin D while wearing sunscreen (although it may take longer to get a daily dose).
  5. 5. Sleep better: Sunlight helps the body produce sufficient hormones it requires for sleep regulation. Plus, the physical stimulation and exertion from outdoor activities will help you feel more drowsy at bedtime.
  6. 6. Improve memory: Research from the University of Michigan found that going outdoors has benefits similar to meditation, which has been found to increase blood flow to the brain and improve memory. Older adults reported a 20% longer attention span after spending one hour outdoors.

Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors

If you’re ready to start taking advantage of the great outdoors, there are a number of activities to consider. Here are a few suggestions to help get you started. One is sure to be right for your fitness level:

  • Gardening: Research has found that gardening is a great way for seniors to burn calories and increase flexibility. It’s also been shown to help reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, lower stress levels and improve your immune systems.
  • Hiking/walking: Going on regular hikes can help build stronger bones and muscles and improve heart health. Hiking can also improve your sense of balance, which can reduce your risk of falling.
  • Outdoor sports: Swimming, golf, tennis, shuffleboard and bocce can help improve your physical, mental and emotional health in numerous ways.
  • Photography: Since everyone has a camera on their phone, it’s easier than ever to capture images of flowers, architecture and more. Just follow your curiosity around your neighborhood and see what you find.
  • Relaxing: Being outside can often be enough to enjoy some amazing health benefits. So try to find ways to relax outdoors — go for a picnic, enjoy a meal outside, find a comfortable spot to read or sit in your favorite garden or by a fountain.

Regency Oaks. Your Choice for Active Senior Living.

With all the benefits of being outdoors for seniors, it makes sense to consider a retirement community with a lifestyle and climate — like Regency Oaks — that lets you spend more time outside. To explore all the activities at our senior living community or to learn more about the things to do in Clearwater, FL, contact one of our senior living representatives here.