With summer’s heat becoming a distant memory we are now entering the cool and pleasant weather of autumn. Getting outdoors is important for people of all ages and walks of life. Autumn is an especially nice time to partake in the outdoors with the leaves changing color creating an especially beautiful scene. In addition to wiping the internal slate clean, lifting our spirits, and giving us a chance to reconnect with life’s most important things, getting outdoors is a great way to relax and take peace from the natural beauty that surrounds us. Taking advantage of any nature around us also encourages seniors to increase their physical and mental activity levels, which, in turn, can contribute to increased health and wellness.
Five Benefits for seniors to enjoy Nature Outdoors:
- Being outside boosts vitamin D levels
Vitamin D is directly related to an improved immune system and a more positive outlook. Spending about 15 minutes of time each day in the sun is an ideal way for seniors to boost their vitamin D levels. Read more about Vitamin D here.
- Nature can help boost immunity
By helping seniors feel more positive and increasing mental health, the great outdoors help seniors build and maintain healthy immune systems.
- Being outside helps seniors feel more energized
Tired? Take a short walk! Getting outside is a great way for seniors to feel more active.
- People who spend time outside recover from injuries faster
Exposure to natural light is powerful, and people who spend lots of time outdoors can recover from injuries faster.
- Being outside helps seniors improve focus
Being outdoors gives the brain a break from everyday multitasking and allows it to form new memories and heal itself from over-extension. This contributes to higher attention levels and improved mental health.
How to Help Seniors Get Outdoors
Getting to the outdoors or enjoying nature does not mean having to go on a rigorous hike. There are many ways to encourage seniors to increase activity and spend time outside while the weather is comfortable. Here are a few easy places to get started:
- Hang a bird feeder outside a senior’s window
An excellent way to bring some of the dynamic and beautiful interactions of nature just a bit closer can be obtained by adding a bird feeder outside a window. In addition to being easy to maintain, bird feeders are also perfect for virtually any housing situation – even those with limited outdoor space. Even a small bird feeder that attaches to a window can be ideal for places like apartments and assisted living facilities or traditional hanging bird feeders can be utilized on a deck or patio. A bird feeder is a great way to experience nature without exhausting the senior in the process who has limited mobility or declining health.
- Arrange pots of colorful flowers, pumpkins or other items outdoors
Autumn is the time for asters, mums, daisies and a variety of pumpkins and gourds. Take advantage of the season for brightening the view and providing some of the serenity of nature without all of the efforts it takes to get outside. Flowers are bright, cheery, and a wonderful way to increase a person’s enjoyment of nature. Utilize easy to maintain plants that can be placed on a deck, patio or if no outdoor space available a pot or pumpkin can be placed on a windowsill.
- Spend some time by water
The slow, trickling noise of moving water has been proven in multiple studies to calm people and promote a feeling of relaxation and well-being. Ponds, lakes, streams, creeks, and rivers are all ideal as well as spending time listening to the ocean waves if you happen to live near the coast.
Spending time by water as often as possible is a wonderful way to help seniors connect with the outdoors and enjoy the experience of new things and dynamic places. Plus, it’s something that is accessible for virtually every senior.
- Go for a walk
Because walking is a low-impact activity that boosts the heart rate slightly, it’s a wonderful way to reap the benefits of both exercises and the outdoors at once. For best results, keep walks well within the senior’s comfortable distance range and alter the route to pass a body of water, if at all possible.
Take advantage of any nature or community trail systems designed for walking or biking in your community. Many retirement or assisted living facilities have paved walkways designed for strolling as well. For seniors who are physically able, going for a walk is a prime way to get out and enjoy nature.
- Have a picnic
A picnic is a great way to combine the healing benefits of getting outdoors with the positive benefits of being around friends and family. For a successful picnic, pack up the loved ones and some tasty treats and head to a favorite place, like a lake or riverside, for a nice outdoor meal.
Getting Outdoors this Autumn
Getting outdoors is a wonderful way for seniors everywhere to improve their health and wellbeing and combat some of the typical rigors of age. In addition to promoting mental and emotional health, getting outdoors is also a wonderful way for seniors to improve their physical health on a daily basis.