Senior Health

3/7/2023 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Have you ever noticed how just getting outside makes you feel better? As it turns out, most people not only feel a sense of serenity, but also tend to become healthier, both physically and mentally, while spending time outside. These outdoor activities for seniors can help boost health while offering opportunities for fun and smiles.

Research shows being outside boosts your immune system by increasing white blood cell levels, while exposure to sunlight can lessen stress and pain. Likewise, scientists have concluded that being in nature boosts your energy levels and can reduce one’s blood pressure, heart rate and muscle tension.

Getting out can also improve concentration, increase creative thinking, and lessen anxiety and depression. With all this evidence, it only makes sense to get outside as much as possible.

Here are some outdoor activities that will help you reap some amazing health benefits.

1. Take a Walk

Walking outdoors can be a delightful, low-impact activity. In fact, going on regular walks can help you maintain a healthy weight, as well as prevent or manage heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes. And it’s not like you need much when it comes to taking a leisurely stroll.

In fact, the only necessary equipment you’ll need when walking is a pair of proper walking shoes, so choose a pair that offers proper arch support and cushion. A local running store can help you find appropriate shoes for your activity and your body.

2. Do Outdoor Yoga

Yoga offers numerous health benefits, including increased flexibility and muscle strength, improved respiration and higher mental clarity. While joining a yoga studio has its perks, you may want to take this healthy exercise regimen outside for a super-charged wellness boost. Find an outdoor practice in your area, or do some basic poses on your own. The only gear you’ll need is comfortable clothing and a yoga mat.

3. Practice Meditation

The health benefits of being outdoors aren’t merely tied to active pursuits. Of course, you can also increase your mental well-being and gain a sense of calm and peace by practicing outdoor meditation. There are many ways to meditate, including:

  • Guided meditation: This practice involves an instructor leading you through various mantras.
  • Transcendental meditation: This practice involves various mantras to clear your mind.

The only thing you’ll need in order to practice meditation is a quiet space and a comfortable setting.

4. Get Off the Beaten Path

seniors hiking in mountains. Image by Tom Wang. For article on outdoor activities for seniors for health

While merely being outside has its obvious perks, you’re bound to experience even more benefits while exploring nature. In particular, experts note the smells emanating from forests can:

  • Decrease stress levels
  • Increase overall brain function
  • Decrease blood pressure

Like anything outdoors-related, make sure to properly prepare for any foray into the forest. Water, food, a first-aid kit, raingear, warm clothing, a GPS or compass, maps of the area, and hiking shoes and poles are just some of the provisions to consider taking on your adventure.

Related: Orienteering for Seniors

5. Garden

Beyond the ability to grow your own food and flowers, gardening offers plenty of health benefits, too. Studies indicate gardening keeps our minds sharp and can lower one’s risk of dementia. For equipment, beyond your standard gardening tools, you’ll simply need a pair of gloves, some knee pads, and a sunhat. If you don’t have access to your own patch of ground or to a community garden, consider container gardening.

6. Play a Sport

By engaging with an organized sport, you’re benefiting from social time with other people as well as boosting your heart rate and getting exercise. Many municipal and county parks and recreation departments offer such activities, sometimes targeted for seniors and sometimes appropriate for participants of all ages. One that has become popular recently, pickleball, plays like tennis but with lower intensity. Look for local running organizations, too – many that self identify as “running” groups are friendly to walkers, too. From organized one milers and 5k “races” to weekly group activities, they’re a great place to connect with others.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff