Nature has so much to offer us with beautiful sights, sounds, and smells, but it can also be a source of healing that benefits mental and physical wellbeing.
The Benefits of Being Outdoors
Going outside might not be the first thing that we think of when we consider health-promoting activities, but the reality is that the outdoors can provide a whole host of benefits that can help seniors as they pursue balance and wellbeing in mind, body, and soul. The following are some of the benefits that seniors can enjoy from being outside and spending time with nature:
- Strengthened Immune Function:Studies have suggested that being outdoors improves immune function by increasing the count of white blood-cells that fight off illnesses.
- Vitamin D:Without spending time outdoors in the sunlight, it can be challenging to get enough vitamin D, which is crucial for the health of the physical body and the mind. Spending some time outside with healthy exposure to natural sunlight can help to foster better mood and help protect against the development of issues with areas of the body such as the bones or heart.
- Social Opportunities: Taking part in outdoor activities creates more opportunities for various forms of social interaction and relationship building. Whether it be sitting out in the garden with a loved one, going for a walk with friends, or participating in an outdoor interest group or sport, there are many social activities accessible for that take place outside.
- Attentiveness:Taking a little break from everything else that is going on in life and directing focus solely onto being outdoors can offer the mind a break from over-stimulation and provide a chance to restore some focus that can improve seniors’ attention levels.
- More Energy:Building a sense of connectedness with nature sparks a sense of vitality and energy that can help to fuel seniors through other activities in their daily lives. The very act of being surrounded by so much life can help seniors to feel more energetic.
- Improved Mood: There is a somewhat magical quality to the way time spent outdoors can instantly help to better our moods and state of mind. Studies have shown that regular exposure to the sun, the vibrant colours and hues of nature, and the fresh air outside can all help to lessen stress, reduce levels of depression, and help seniors to feel happier and more at peace.
- Better Sleep:Spending time outside can help to improve quality of sleep in a few different ways. Firstly, being outside often involves at least some amount of movement or exercise that can help tire out the body in a way that allows for a more restful sleep. Similarly, being outdoors involves greater exposure to natural light, which has been suggested to lead to a better night’s sleep than a day spent exposed primarily to artificial lighting. The exposure to natural sunlight helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm and internal clock so that sleeping patterns are improved.
The great outdoors can offer a lot of healing benefits for seniors and the state of health and wellbeing that they have in older age. The outdoors can offer an opportunity for emotional restoration, physical strength building, improvement of immunity, social connection, and self-reflection. Planning some time to be outside in a comfortable and enjoyable way can help in the process of fostering and maintaining the wellbeing of seniors in Kingston in valuable ways.