The Benefits of Being Outdoors In Nature for Seniors

The trickle of a gently running stream, the rustle of leaves in the breeze: humans admire nature. It’s an essential part of our well-being at all ages but becomes especially so in our twilight years.

This article discusses the substantial benefits of being outdoors for seniors, including all the mental, emotional, and physical perks that keep you happy and healthy, no matter your age.

Why is Being Outdoors in Nature Important?

Spending time outdoors is important regardless of the age of the person concerned, as it is known to improve health and happiness throughout our lifetimes.

From Vitamin D boosts to fighting depression, the health benefits of nature are plentiful and important to us all.

Senior people need to spend time outdoors as much as anyone else; unfortunately, theirs is a demographic that often, due to difficulties with mobility or lack of motivation, misses out on valuable time outside.

To help you understand its importance, we will run through the benefits of being outside for seniors.

It Improves Mental Health

Lake at Cape Albeon

Nature is a healing and nurturing respite for us all, and being in, or even seeing images of nature, has been found to have a positive effect on our mental health.

When you live in a city, or as many senior people do, stay indoors most of the time, you lose that vital time experiencing nature.

It is often an issue that doesn’t become apparent quickly, but a prolonged absence of nature in our lives can slowly take its toll.

Easy access and regular ventures outside can help with depression and anxiety, reduce stress, and generally create positive emotions.

Nature gives us a sense of calming tranquility; our lives are becoming more and more city-centric and urbanized, but finding time for the natural world is more important for our mental health than ever.

The Vitamin D Boost Helps Eliminate Fatigue

One of the most obvious – and important – benefits of getting outside is that you spend more time out in the sunshine.

Most of our required Vitamin D intake comes from the sun and is important in boosting energy levels and eliminating fatigue; a particularly common ailment among seniors.

A tendency to stay indoors, as is common with senior citizens, means that this important source of Vitamin D is no longer being utilized.

Besides energy levels, Vitamin D is vital in keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy, as it helps the body absorb and regulate calcium and phosphorous.

This is important for all ages, but for older generations, where frailties quickly set in and fall become more dangerous, this is especially important.

Vitamin D is also instrumental in maintaining and building an effective immune system. This makes it one of the most important vitamins for older people, while simultaneously being the most commonly deficient.

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Being Outside Combats Feelings of Loneliness and Isolation

Spending a lot of time indoors often corresponds with a lot of time alone. People of retirement age can whittle away the hours in front of a TV or buried in a book.

There is nothing wrong with these pastimes, but eventually, feelings of loneliness and isolation can start to set in.

Being outdoors promotes social interaction, particularly in environments that attract a lot of people, like a lakeside or park.

Mingling with other people is vitally important for our mental health and wellbeing. Excursions into nature can be fun, social adventures; like joining a walking group, which is an excellent way to make friends at retirement age.

Even if there isn’t another soul to be seen, being outside surrounded by wildlife and nature has been proven to help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Improves Cognitive Function

Lake at Cape Albeon

Studies have found that spending time in nature improves cognitive function.

This means things like memory, reasoning, and how quickly we process information are affected by the time we spend outdoors.

Elderly people have to work especially hard to keep their minds sharp and functioning well.

A foggy memory and reduced cognitive abilities become more of an issue for people as we get older; nature has a restorative effect that can help fight against the onset of these issues, and keep the minds of seniors sharp and quick.

It has been suggested that looking at nature allows us to rest the part of our brain that has to directly focus.

This allows our minds to drift to the scenery in the background – meaning our attention is spread across less demanding sources.

It Helps Fight Depression and Anxiety

Senior living, as health begins to decline and mobility reduces, can feel monotonous and dull.  Living inside the same four walls every day can cause all your days to blend into one.

Depression and anxiety can quickly set in for people in this environment. One of the benefits of being outdoors in nature is that it breaks up the monotony of everyday life.

Nature has a calming effect on us, and this isn’t just hearsay – it causes an actual chemical reaction in the brain.

Being in nature, or even just seeing images of nature, helps the brain produce endorphins, which is the hormone that promotes feelings of happiness.

Nature, if the person feels safe and secure, is an essential component of a happy and healthy lifestyle.  It reduces stress and lifts our mood; for senior citizens especially, it is a fantastic way to maintain their wellbeing.

How Cape Albeon Helps

A Elder Couple Walking on a Trail

At Cape Albeon, nature is on your doorstep.

Our retirement community is in the beautiful Valley Park area of St. Louis County, just outside St. Louis.

The gorgeous lakeside location, which overlooks pristine, calming waters, feels a world away from the city.

It is important for our residents to spend time in nature. Knowing this, we make sure they don’t have to travel far.

Lakeside living means that stepping outside your door – or, even, having your dinner in a lakeside dining room – is a step into nature, and all the benefits of being outdoors for senior citizens are easily accessible.

We encourage our residents to spend as much time outdoors as physically possible.

Because we like to go the extra mile, we have carved out a fantastic, senior-friendly walking trail.

 

[click the tour menu, scroll  to the bottom and walk The Nubia Trail]

The Nubia Trail connects Cape Albeon Harbor to the Village. You can wander past the lake at your own pace on this easy-going paved path. There are also many benches along the way to pause and admire the wildlife. .

Our Nubia Trail has been the site of many a leisurely stroll and continues to delight residents to this day.

If you want to see how we have incorporated nature into the heart of our community for yourself, and learn more about how our residents experience their surroundings, take a tour of the grounds with a guide ready to answer all of your questions.

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FAQs

How Does Nature Help the Elderly?

Nature has several benefits for the elderly, as detailed throughout this article.   Increased intake of Vitamin D has positive effects on the elderly.

Also, spending time in nature lifts the mood and improves mental health.

How Does Nature Affect Quality of Life?

Nature undoubtedly has a positive effect on the quality of life. People that spend more time outdoors in natural environments tend to be happier and healthier, for longer.

Nature helps keep our cognitive abilities functioning well, reduces fatigue, improves immunity, and keeps our moods high. While not the biggest factor in determining the quality of life, it undeniably has a positive effect.

Why is it Important to go Outside every day?

You can prevent mobility issues and bad habits by going outside every day, preventing the unhealthy routine of sitting indoors.

It boosts your mental health and reduces stress while allowing you to get your daily dose of Vitamin D.