Spring has finally arrived! After a long and cold winter many of us are ready to head outside. For aging seniors, staying physically and mentally active is key to good health.
Outdoor activities provide some important health benefits for older people. Studies have show that sunshine may help increase Vitamin D which provides a healthy immune and cardiovascular system. For seniors who may have a deficiency it can adversely affect their bone and heart health. As an added bonus, fresh air can also be a mood-lifter.
Below are a few suggestions to help enjoy the warmer weather:
- Enjoy a walk outdoors. Physical fitness is important for maintaining good health. Walking is considered one of the most beneficial exercises you can do. It improves circulation, strengthens muscles, promotes joint health, and increases balance and stability.
- Visit Outside. Sit outside on the porch and visit, play a card game, or walk around the yard for fresh air and sunshine.
- Take a Drive. Some seniors may enjoy riding around the countryside watching the trees, plants, and grass start to bloom and turn green. Many young animals that have just been born such as calves and lambs are fun to watch too.
- Visit a Park. Sitting outdoors at a local park can be a fun experience as well. Pack a picnic lunch or snack and maybe watch children play on the playground equipment or watch a soccer or baseball game.
- Plant some Flowers or Vegetables. If you like to garden, planting flowers or vegetables in a pot or a raised flower bed could be a great hobby to help you stay active
- Visit a Grandchild’s Activity. Whether it’s a sporting event, play, concert, or school program spending quality family time outside the home can benefit everyone’s health.
While being outdoors is enjoyable, it’s always important to know your limitations. Certain activities outside can be challenging and sometimes dangerous for older seniors. If you have allergies or respiratory issues, be sure to check for low-air quality days as well as pollen counts before heading out. Sunscreen and appropriate clothing are important to wear when outside and remember to pack a water bottle to stay hydrated. Lastly, start off slow with your outdoor adventures and keep activities simple until you find your footing.