As we age, living situations, health conditions, mobility issues and more can influence how we spend our time and limit our opportunities to get out and about. It’s not uncommon to experience increased boredom, loneliness, depression or lack of energy. However, research shows that something as simple as time spent outdoors can alleviate sluggishness and provide a number of valuable mental and physical health benefits.
According to Carmen Duren, Executive Director at Provident Village at Canton in Canton, GA, spending time outdoors can make a huge positive impact, especially on the lives of seniors. “It’s refreshing,” says Duren, “in a world of complicated health issues, that such a simple thing as going outside can make such a big difference in our well-being. Spending time surrounded by nature is a great way for seniors to stay healthy, lighten their mood and interact with others in their community.”
With warmer weather on its way, the opportunities are growing for you and your loved ones to reap the benefits of spending time outside.
Benefits of Going Alfresco
Plenty of research has been done to prove the plethora of health benefits the great outdoors can provide. Studies show that fresh air and sunshine can affect us inside and out. An article from Harvard Health Publications titled “A Prescription for Better Health: Go Alfresco,” as well as studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, summarize the value of spending time out in the sunshine. Proven benefits include:
- Increased Vitamin D Levels – Direct sunlight is the main source of Vitamin D for our skin. Even just a few minutes of sun exposure a day can help increase your Vitamin D, which has been known to help fight off osteoporosis, cancer and depression.
- Helps You Heal – Spending time in the sun could help you get over an illness or injury faster. Studies show that those exposed to more natural light have quicker recoveries and experience less pain than those who were exposed to artificial light.
- Increased Physical Activity – When we’re outdoors, we’re more likely to engage in physical activities than when we are stuck indoors. Walking, cycling, gardening and other recreational activities work to keep us at optimal physical health.
- Boredom Buster – Going outside can get your brain moving, too. Even if you simply sit outside or take a short stroll, the sensory stimulation that nature provides eliminates boredom.
- Increased Social Interaction – Outdoor space allows for more opportunities to do things with others. In turn, spending time with other people boosts self-esteem and positivity, and it can keep us from feeling lonely and out-of-touch, which could lead to depression.
- Better Sense of Overall Health – Psychological studies link time spent outdoors to a greater sense of vitality. Not only does being outside give you more energy throughout the day, but vitality helps our bodies become more resilient to physical illness.
- Greater Feelings of Happiness – We have a natural connection to living things. When we’re out in nature, it’s easy to feel like we belong in our environment. According to an article by the University of Rochester, “Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive.”
Ideas for Outdoor Activities
Fortunately, we’ll never run out of activities to do outside. Here are some easy ways any of us could enjoy spending time outdoors:
- Go for a walk
- Work in the garden or flower bed
- Take reading material outside
- Play or watch an outdoor game or sport
- Invite friends on a picnic
- Enjoy outdoor recreation, such as parks, zoos, gardens or open-air concerts
No matter how you spend your time outdoors, you’re sure to be taking a valuable step in the direction of better health and happiness.
Enjoying the Great Outdoors
“At Provident Village at Canton,” says Duren, “we know that most of our residents love to be outside. We designed our community to feature beautifully landscaped surroundings, courtyards, gardens and other open-air spaces where our residents can be active or simply enjoy nature.
“Our philosophy of living vibrantly encourages our residents to take part in the types of activities that promote total well-being – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually and socially. For many, pursuit of their well-being takes them outside, so we emphasize outdoor activity whenever possible, offering gardening classes, walking groups and whatever else our residents want to do to stay happy and healthy.”
Live Vibrantly! at Provident Village at Canton
At Provident Village at Canton, we believe vibrant days ensure bright tomorrows, so we’ve created a community where seniors, quite simply, Live Vibrantly! Whether it’s in our Assisted Living Community or Memory Care Neighborhood, each day we celebrate the individuality and strengths of each resident.
At Provident Village, to Live Vibrantly! means that days are filled with joy, vitality, growth and security. It means residents are socially active and personally empowered, with access to the personalized care and support they need to live fully. It means residing in a community where intellectual, social, emotional, spiritual and physical care are seamlessly integrated into everyday life.
Our compassionate Care Partners dedicate each day to enriching the lives of our residents. They customize the level of attention and activities to each resident’s specific needs and abilities. Our living environments are warm and inviting, with comfortable furnishings, beautiful fixtures and natural elements that bring the outdoors inside.