Senior Health Today: 7 Tips on The Value of Time Outdoors

“There may be more to ‘walking on the sunny side of the street’ than we once thought,”says Collin Tierney at Bryn Mawr Terrace in Bryn Mawr, PA. “Spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine may offer significant health benefits.

“Now there is a body of scientific evidence that indicates that something as simple as time spent outdoors can alleviate sluggishness and provide a number of valuable mental and physical health benefits. This information is particularly valuable for senior adults who might be less able or inclined to spend time outside their home. “

As we get older, it is not uncommon for health conditions and other circumstances to influence how and where we spend our time. Typically, seniors spend much more time inside than outdoors. Unfortunately, a more limited, sedentary lifestyle has been shown to increase boredom, loneliness, apathy and depression, as well as contribute to a greater risk of illness.

Health and aging experts agree that there is an innate bond between humans and the great outdoors that promotes relaxation and provides a unique sense of peace and serenity. Other tangible benefits of spending time outdoors include improved physical health and mental sharpness. 

So as the warm sunny days beckon, spending more time outdoors is a great way for seniors to stay healthy, brighten their spirits and have more opportunities for important social engagement.

7 Ways Being Outdoors Can Improve Your Health

According to the Harvard Health article, “A prescription for better health: go alfresco,” and other research on the subject, there are several health benefits associated with spending time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. These include: 

  1. Increased Vitamin D Levels – Direct sunlight is the main source of vitamin D for our skin. Even just a few minutes of sun exposure a day can help increase your vitamin D levels, which has been known to help fight off osteoporosis, cancer and depression.
  2. Help with Healing – Spending time outdoors in the sun could help you get over an illness or injury faster. Studies show that those exposed to more natural light have quicker recoveries and experience less pain than those who were exposed to artificial light.
  3. Increased Physical Activity – When we’re outdoors, we’re more likely to engage in physical activities than when we are stuck indoors. Walking, cycling, gardening and other recreational activities work to keep us at optimal physical health.
  4. Reduced Boredom and Apathy – Going outside can get your brain moving, too. Even if you simply sit outside or take a short stroll, the sensory stimulation that nature provides eliminates boredom.
  5. Increased Social Interaction – Outdoor space allows for more opportunities to do things with others. In turn, spending time with other people boosts self-esteem and positivity, and it can keep us from feeling lonely and out-of-touch, which could lead to depression.
  6. Greater Vitality and Well-being – Psychological studies link time spent outdoors to a greater sense of vitality. Not only does being outside give you more energy throughout the day, but vitality helps our bodies become more resilient to physical illness.
  7. Increased Feelings of Happiness – We have a natural connection to living things. When we’re outside in nature, it’s easy to feel like we belong in our environment. As noted in an article by the University of Rochester, “Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive.”

Adds Collin, “With the weather improving, try to take advantage of these valuable benefits of spending time outside. To quote Hans Christian Andersen,’ Just living is not enough ... One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.’ Just remember to always use sunscreen and wear a hat when you’re enjoying the outdoors.”

A Focus on Life Enrichment and Living Well

Bryn Mawr Terrace offers extensive life enrichment programs for all residents. And we embrace the health benefits of the great outdoors with multiple outdoor patios, opportunities to enjoy nature and community outings. Our engaging programs, which are offered at various times throughout the day and evening, are tailored to the needs and preferences of our residents. 

Your Family Resource for Senior Care Information and Support

Rated ‘’Best in Senior Care,’’ Bryn Mawr Terrace is more than a leading senior care community; it is a warm, friendly place that older loved ones can proudly call home. We invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior care topics, and we welcome you to stop in for a tour to see for yourself why we’ve been named the “Best of the Main Line.”

We’d Love to Hear Your Thoughts!

If you have comments or questions about our blog on senior health and the value of being outdoors, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as the individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living, personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing. For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at (610) 525-8300 or contact us online.

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Bryn Mawr Terrace and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.

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