Why Outdoor Activities Are Important for Seniors

If there was something easy that you could do to boost your mood, reduce the need for medications, increase your vitamin D levels naturally, and get better sleep, would you want us to tell you about it? If your answer is yes, keep reading because that’s exactly what we’re here to discuss today. This isn’t a magic pill or complicated regimen. It’s completely free and anyone can do it. The answer- getting outside! Outdoor activities in nature benefit older adults in many ways. Here are a few reasons that getting out in the sunshine is so important for seniors.

Sleep Better
Engaging in physical activity outdoors regularly may help improve your sleep. Exercise increases the production of endorphins and other “happy chemicals” in the body, such as serotonin and dopamine. These natural chemicals not only help you feel happier, they also reduce stress and promote relaxation. Coupled with the extra energy used up by exercise you’ll feel more tired and relaxed at bedtime to help you fall asleep faster,  get into the deep phase of sleep sooner, and wake feeling more rested and refreshed. Activities don’t have to be strenuous. Keep it within your ability level whether it’s a leisurely stroll with a friend or sitting on a bench doing gentle stretching exercises.

Increase Vitamin D Naturally
Vitamin D deficiency is a very common concern. Low vitamin D levels are associated with a variety of health problems.. Modifying your diet to include vitamin D fortified foods and taking a supplement can help, but exposure to sunlight will help your body produce its own vitamin D. In fact, exposing your skin to sunlight for just 15 minutes can help your body produce up to 3,000 IU of this vital nutrient. So take your afternoon tea and newspaper outside and soak up some sunshine vitamins.

Boost Your Mood
One study by the University of York found that participating in nature-based activities for as little as 20 minutes a day for eight to 12 weeks improved moods and decreased stress and tension. Gardening was a favored activity in this study. Researchers at the University of Michigan found a connection between group nature walks and decreased feelings of stress and depression and an overall improvement in mental health. So whether you’re potting a flower, walking with friends, or simply sitting in the garden listening to the birds getting outdoors is important for a senior’s physical and mental health.

At Ashbridge Manor Senior Living, we pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead an active lifestyle to improve their health. When it’s time to transition to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members and we can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special! Ashbridge Manor is a safe, COVID-free senior living community.