Seniors who spend time in nature on a regular basis report increased feelings of wellbeing, renewal, and spiritual connectedness, a recent study at the University of Minnesota reveals. Being active outdoor decreases boredom, isolation, and loneliness and provides the opportunity for health-restoring physical and social activity. Moreover, even just half an hour of sunlight a day can boost vitamin D levels and improve mood and cognition, which is particularly beneficial for those in their senior years. And if you’re short on ideas, here are several enjoyable outdoor activities that can help you make the most of the nice weather.
Walk in nature
Walking is an easy activity that’s great for fitness, boosts the immune system, and lubricates the joints to reduce arthritis pain. It can also be tailored to suit different levels of mobility. Just twenty-five minutes of walking a day can increase your lifespan by seven years, a study by St. George’s University found. Take a walk to the beach, nature reserve, woods, or local town. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes, a hat, sunglasses, breathable clothing, and sunscreen, as well as bring snacks and water.
Take a morning or afternoon out to play a game of golf. You can visit a local course, or even get a portable putting green for your back garden. Why not make it interesting and have the players competing for prizes? Golf is an enjoyable yet challenging game that stimulates the brain, boosts heart health, and reduces stress levels. Moreover, it’s a low-impact activity which means there’s a low risk of injury. Other low-impact sports include walking, biking, bowling, and swimming.
Art projects are the perfect way to get those creative juices flowing and there’s no reason why you can’t take them outdoors when weather permits. Painting, in particular, is a therapeutic activity which helps you work through emotions and calm the mind. It can even protect against dementia. Organise a trip to the countryside, beach, or cliffs for a painting session; bring the necessary art supplies with you. You could even hire an art teacher to guide the session and help improve your painting abilities.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Even just playing some simple games — such as, darts, badminton, frisby, and volleyball — in the garden is an easy way to get some sunshine and fresh air. Ultimately, any activity you enjoy doing will be beneficial to your mental, physical, and emotional health.
Written by Jane Sandwood