While working their way through the process of growing older, there are many different factors and facets that seniors need to consider as they determine how best to live out the rest of their lives.
Part of this process of figuring out what will help seniors to live happily, healthily, and with a positive state of overall wellbeing involves looking into different activities, behaviours, practices, and priorities that can potentially help seniors to build a fulfilling and positive lifestyle for themselves. Personal and individual circumstances, interests, and levels of ability mean that varying activities will be appealing, enjoyable, and accessible for each individual, but one activity that remains consistently available and always valuable for seniors is spending time interacting with the healing powers of nature in the great outdoors. Time spent outside, especially with a sense of connectedness to nature, is something that has the ability to improve the state of both mental and physical health that seniors experience, and setting aside just a bit of time to go outdoors can be deeply valuable for seniors’ in North and West Vancouver.
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 North and West Vancouver in valuable ways.