Outdoor Activities for Seniors
Enjoying the great outdoors can have a plethora of benefits for senior citizens. Here, the home care specialists at Avila Home Care explain the benefits of outdoor activity and describe outdoor activities that can easily accommodate seniors of all activity levels.
The Benefits of Outdoor Activity for Seniors
The benefits of outdoor activity have been well-documented for people of all ages, but many of the benefits can help to specifically mitigate some of the challenges we face as we age. A major concern for the elderly, especially elderly women, is bone health, which is positively impacted by adequate Vitamin D levels. The most potent and effective form of Vitamin D is created by sun exposure—approximately 15 minutes of sun exposure per day creates all of the Vitamin D your body needs to maintain strong bones and an optimized immune system. Even on cloudy days, research has shown that spending time outside is linked to an improved immune system—those who spent several hours outside subsequently developed more virus- and cancer-fighting white blood cells compared to those who did not go outside. Natural light and time spent outdoors can even impact recovery time after an illness or injury—patients who stay in rooms with natural light are discharged from their medical facility sooner than those in rooms with only artificial light. This is particularly beneficial for seniors, as prolonged hospital stays are linked to further complications, which can severely impact a senior’s health and well-being.
Besides physical health benefits, being outdoors is also a wonderful mood stabilizer. Those who spend more time outside are less likely to report feelings of anxiety, stress or depression. It also increases feelings of vitality and joy and can contribute to a more restful sleep by recalibrating the body’s internal clock.
Accommodating Senior Citizens During Outdoor Activities
Depending on their physical health, senior citizens may require many or very few accommodations to enjoy the outdoors; however, every senior citizen is capable of enjoying at least some outdoor time. The most important accommodation is time: many seniors move at a slower pace, and as such should be given plenty of time to perform any scheduled outdoor activities. Canes, walkers and appropriate footwear can greatly improve a senior’s mobility, and care should be taken to ensure the terrain is suitable for seniors to move safely and avoid injury. When enjoying the outdoors, remember that weather can be unpredictable, and seniors should dress in layers and bring an umbrella if the forecast calls for rain. While seniors should enjoy enough sun exposure to optimize Vitamin D levels—approximately 15 minutes of direct sunlight—any subsequent sun exposure should be minimized through the use of sunscreen, sunshades and sunglasses.
Fun Outdoor Activities for Seniors to Enjoy
Some of the most popular outdoor activities are ones that seniors can easily enjoy. These include:
Walking outside is a wonderful way to get some much-needed exercise and can also have a calming and restorative emotional effect. It is an extremely accessible activity, as it requires no extraneous equipment besides suitable footwear and can be enjoyed by anyone at any level of physical capability.
Whether in a tiny townhouse or expansive estate, any senior citizen can enjoy the benefits of gardening. Gardening can make for good exercise or simply act as a relaxation technique, and depending on the plants grown, gardening can also provide a valuable source of food.
Popular in many retirement communities, golf is a great way to spend time outside and strengthen one’s body and mind. Because of the ability to use golf carts, golf can also accommodate senior citizens who have difficulty walking or standing for long periods of time.
Similar to gardening, fishing is not only a valuable form of outdoor fun, but it can also provide a source of food. There are hundreds of places to fish in Maryland—just ensure you have purchased a fishing license from a certified agent before you go.
Enjoy Fun Outdoor Activities This Spring with One of the Companions at Avila Home Care
There are a multitude of ways for seniors to take advantage of all the outdoors has to offer, especially when they enjoy these activities with a friend, loved one or certified home care companion, such as the specialists at Avila Home Care. Our dedicated team wants to help senior citizens maximize their aging in place experience by helping them to enjoy their free time in fun and safe ways. For more information, contact Avila Home Care today.
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