Spending some time outdoors is great for mental and physical health, especially for seniors. It is a good idea to make going outdoors a part of your daily routine. Simply spending just half an hour outdoors each day can greatly improve your overall well-being and state of mind.
Being outdoors brings a whole host of mental and physical health benefits to seniors. The following are just some of these benefits:
Being Outdoors Increases Your Vitamin D Levels
According to health surveys, a large proportion of Americans have low Vitamin D levels. This is especially so for the senior population. It is a problem that needs to be corrected because Vitamin D is important for fighting inflammation and improving the immune system, both of which are extremely important for seniors. Having an adequate amount of Vitamin D is also essential for bone health, and may also be helpful for a wide range of health problems such as heart attacks and certain kinds of cancer. In addition, higher levels of Vitamin D and natural light have been said to be effective for offsetting depression and boosting overall happiness.
So how can this Vitamin D deficit be remedied? The solution is extremely simple. Just getting outdoors and spending about 15 minutes in the sun daily can help your body to get its recommended daily amount of Vitamin D.
Spending Time In Green Spaces Has Been Linked to an Improved Immunity System
Somewhat similar to improved health due to increased levels of Vitamin D, spending time in the outdoors has also been directly linked to an improved immunity system. According to a study at Tokyo’s Nippon Medical School, women who spent six hours in the woods over a time span of two days showed an increase in virus- and tumor- fighting white blood cells subsequently. This boost even lasted for a minimum of seven days. Hence, seniors should try to spend more time outdoors in order to reap these fantastic health benefits.
Being Outdoors is Great for Improving Your Mood
Research has shown that spending some time outdoors can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Specifically, a study by the University of Michigan has found that group nature walks are linked to enhanced mental health and positivity, and significantly lower levels of depression and stress. A study by Glasgow University also showed that people who walked, biked, or ran in nature had a lower risk of poor mental health than people who choose to work out indoors.
This is especially helpful for seniors, who commonly suffer from anxiety and depression problems. As such, they should try to regularly spend time in green spaces such as parks, where they will feel more relaxed and hence improve their overall happiness.
Spending Time Outdoors Can Energize You
According to a 2010 study by the University of Rochester, spending time outdoors makes people ‘feel more alive’. It seems to bring seniors an increased sense of vitality and energy, which in turn is helpful or boosting resiliency to physical illnesses. Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, has suggested that connecting with nature is an even better way to combat feeling depleted than reaching for a cup of coffee.
Being Outdoors Helps You Achieve a More Restful Sleep
When you spend more time outdoors, you tend to spend less time in artificial light. Numerous studies have shown that people who spend all day in artificial light tend to have trouble falling and staying asleep at night. On the other hand, if you spend a little time in natural sunlight each day, you will have a well-regulated internal body clock. This allows you to have a more restful sleep each night.
The outdoors can improve your attention levels
According to a study published in the Psychological Science academic journal, interactions with nature allows the brain to have a break from everyday over-stimulation. This in turn results in a restorative effect on one’s attention levels, bringing improved focus and mental health. So why not consider a trip to the countryside for a short getaway?
The outdoors helps you to recover from injury and illness more quickly
Some studies have suggested that nature helps a person to recover from injury and illness more quickly. For instance, a 2005 study by the University of Pittsburgh found that spinal surgery patients who had greater exposure to natural light tended to take fewer pain medications and experienced less stress than patients who did not. Another study found that patients in rooms with nature views went home sooner than patients in rooms that had more urban views. This benefit is especially helpful for seniors, who tend to take a longer time than most to recover from illnesses. Also, the longer a senior stays ill or injured, the more dangerous complications tend to develop. As such, it is ideal for seniors to make full use of this health benefit to ensure that they recover from any injury or illness in the fastest time possible.