Time outside and with others has been limited over the past several months, but the benefit of getting fresh air and exposure to sunlight should not be forgotten, especially for older adults. As the warm weather continues, older adults should find ways to soak up the sun, Home Instead advises.
Being outdoors has many advantages for seniors. In addition to increasing physical activity, lowering stress, boosting energy levels, spending time outside can increase vitamin D levels, a nutrient that is a crucial component in healthy aging.
“Everyone can benefit from spending time outside, but as we age it can be especially beneficial for our minds and our bodies. While older adults can raise vitamin D levels by adding nutrient rich foods to their diet, the advantages of getting fresh air and direct sunlight cannot be beat.”
— Lakelyn Hogan, PhD, gerontologist and caregiver advocate at Home Instead
Get Out of the House
To promote healthy living, Hogan outlines the following motivations for getting out of the house:
- Supports mental well-being. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a form of depression and is experienced most often in the winter months. Symptoms of SAD can start to improve with the arrival of spring and more sunlight. In addition, spending time outdoors triggers vitamin D synthesis in the skin, which can provide a boost to your immune system and your overall mood. Activities such as going to the park or taking a drive with the windows down can help reduce feelings of isolation, depression and stress. If mobility is a challenge, sitting near a window and opening curtains or blinds can be beneficial and allow sunlight in.
- Keeps you moving. According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults, including seniors, need nearly three hours of moderate aerobic physical activity a week. Planning activities such as a daily walk or bird watching can help contribute to better physical health.
- Encourages new hobbies. Warmer weather can lead to opportunities to explore new activities. Gardening is a fun hobby for older adults and a great way to spend time outdoors. Many vegetables, herbs and flowers can be cultivated in container gardens, which are convenient and easy to maintain. There are various adaptive tools available to help seniors who have arthritis or trouble with grip strength.
- Improves bone and cardiovascular health. Low levels of vitamin D can result in conditions such as osteoporosis, a disease that leads to bone weakening, which can increase the risk of falls. Older adults can increase time outdoors to help combat this and other diseases.
- Enhances personal connections. After many months spent indoors and being entertained by screens, spending time outside without the distraction of technology can be refreshing. Doing so with loved ones by your side can help strengthen relationships and deepen bonds. Consider packing a picnic for yourself, taking a walk with your neighbor or starting a garden at home to cultivate with your loved ones.
For more information and tips on healthy aging, visit Home Instead.
[Source(s): Home Instead Senior Care, PRWeb]