When life starts to slow down, many tend to spend more and more time indoors. Sitting and watching TV or sitting and working a crossword puzzle or reading fills up a lot of time for many seniors. A walk in the park, however, may be just what you need.
A Trip to the Park for Seniors: Time to Step Outside
There’s just something about getting up and getting outside. It gets your blood moving, fresh air in your lungs, and a new outlook on life. Whether you live alone at home or in an assisted living community, a regular walk in the park is good for you. Consider the following 9 benefits of taking a trip to the park:
1) Increases Vitamin D levels
Spending more time under the sun increases vitamin D exposure and stimulates the body to both produce and absorb more of it. Most seniors have a vitamin D deficiency which puts them at a greater risk for cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other diseases. Vitamin D is also instrumental in fighting infections and viruses such as the common cold.
2) Improves emotional health
Staying inside all day every day increases your risk for depression and isolation. Isolation and depression are huge problems in the elderly community. Movement gets the blood flowing in your body and to your brain. You can socialize with others at the park and surround yourself with nature. Nature has a general calming effect and helps reduce stress levels. It stimulates the part of your brain that’s linked to love, empathy, and emotional stability.
3) Promotes better sleep
Getting a regular good night’s sleep is essential to good health at any age. It improves your physical and mental health when you give your body the time it needs to rest, refresh, and rejuvenate. Spending too much time indoors disrupts your circadian rhythms(body’s regulatory clock) and sleeping habits.
4) Keeps eyes healthy
When you don’t get outside much, as is the case with many seniors, you tend to rely on TV for entertainment. This often gives you dry, tired eyes that seem to stay sore. Getting a few hours out in a park each week is good for better eye health.
5) Improves the immune system
Spending time in nature seems to be linked to a stronger immune system. White blood cells increase as stress levels and blood pressure decrease. It can also have a positive effect on your metabolic and cardiovascular health.
6) Makes you more energetic
Getting out in the fresh air simply makes you feel better. It gives you energy and makes you feel more alive. Your blood flows as you increase movement and the sun and nature give you a sense of greater vitality.
7) Recover from injury and illness
People in their latter years typically take longer than others to recover from illness. Getting out in nature, increasing motion, and getting your blood flowing speeds up your recovery times.
8) Boosts memory
Spending time and interacting with nature is proven to increase attention span and memory processes. An urban environment typically has a more complex pattern of stimulation that is often confusing. It requires effort to understand and interpret. The simple and restorative effect of nature is good for mental health.
9) Lengthens life
According to a 2016 study out of Harvard University, people who have homes surrounded by vegetation live 12 percent longer than those who don’t. The study’s findings were the same across ages, race, and socioeconomic status. The bottom line is a weekly stroll in the park could add years to your life.
Better Quality of Life with Unlimited Care
Getting outside regularly or a trip to the park for seniors has tremendous benefits for your health. You’ll feel better, sleep better, and enjoy better health and a better life in general. Get up and get out for a breath of fresh air. Listen to the birds and smell the flowers. Be well and enjoy life!
At Unlimited Care Cottages, we are dedicated to improving the quality of life for seniors by promoting a wide range of activities and community. To learn more about our unique approach or to schedule a tour of one of our cottages, Contact Us.