Even though Fort Worth, Texas, has plenty of warm weather throughout the year, summer days and evenings have a certain quality that encourages people to get out and experience the outdoors. Residents at Bethesda Gardens assisted living community are no exception, and you'll often find them basking in the warm sunlight and enjoying the sounds of nature.
Scientists have been promoting the benefits of outdoor time for years, and they've carried out over 143 studies that show the positive effects of nature on various age groups. Recently, testing scenarios are focusing on seniors in particular.
Strolling outside, breathing in the fresh air and listening to nature are all ways to give your spirits a boost. Although a blue-sky day may automatically bring a smile to your face, even cloudy days can be fun thanks to gentle breezes, green grass and flitting birds.
Studies on assisted living residents have shown that the lack of outdoor time can cause a depressive mood. Increasing your time spent outdoors can improve your spirits, and it may help relieve built-up anxiety and stress too.
Researchers found that people perform better on cognitive function and memory tests after a short period of walking. While indoor and outdoor walking both resulted in an improvement, outdoor walking showed the highest gains overall — and all it takes is a short stroll outdoors.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin to the body, helping to keep bones strong and reducing inflammation. While it does occur naturally in some foods, even a small amount of sunlight exposure can help make sure you maintain appropriate levels.
One study, which focused on seniors over 65 years old, looked at the benefits of overall health during outdoor exercise. Participants were asked to ride an exercise bike indoors and outdoors. Research showed being outdoors not only helped improve cardiac function, but it increased the amount of circulating white blood cells, helping to reduce the risk of infection.
Now that you've learned some of the benefits of getting outdoors, why don't you give it a try? Here are several ways to take advantage of the outdoor complex of your assisted living community.
Take a walk: By far, the easiest way to get some outdoor time is to stroll around the grounds of your community. Try a ten-minute walk before breakfast, one after lunch and another in the evening after dinner. Ask someone to accompany you, so you can enjoy the fellowship of a friend along with the outdoors.
If you have difficulty ambulating, take your time, and use support aids. Rollators are great for balance issues, and they offer a handy seat when you need a rest. Staff members are always ready to move residents who use wheelchairs to a pleasant spot in the sun or shade.
Discover bird-watching: You don't need any special equipment to take up the hobby. Simply sit back, relax and enjoy our feathered friends as they hop about, fly from tree to tree and fill the air with their songs. You might find your hobby becoming a passion. When that happens, a guide book and a pair of binoculars may come in handy.
Play games: Invite fellow residents to a game of euchre, bridge or Uno — or how about dominoes or Go Fish. It doesn't matter what you play as long as you're outside and enjoying the company of other senior community members.
Get creative: For some reason, creative juices seem to flow better outdoors. You don't need to have any artistic talent either; you're just drawing for your own enjoyment. Take a pad and some colored pencils or use one of the new adult coloring books. Either way, it's a great way to relax outside.
Meditate on Scripture: The Bible is full of verses that describe God's amazing creation, many of them in Psalms. Take time to read about God's goodness to us and how all creation declares His glory. Morning or evening devotions can be especially meaningful while surrounded by nature.
If you get the opportunity to venture out with family or friends, jump on it. Don't let moments pass by when you can be enjoying outdoor recreational activities.
- Sporting events: From your great-grandchildren's soccer league to your son-in-law's softball game, it's always fun to watch sports.
- Parades and festivals: Farmer's markets, Independence Day Parades and harvest festivals are all good reasons to get out in the open.
- Ice cream anything: Summer days and ice cream are made for each other, so anytime you get the chance to enjoy ice cream outdoors, go for it.
- Parks: Fort Worth, Texas, has plenty of dedicated areas perfect for picnics, casual strolls or fishing.
The sun brings a host of benefits, but unfortunately, it also produces damaging ultraviolet rays. The risk of skin cancer increases dramatically in adults over 65. Fortunately, seniors can shield themselves from the sun without giving up their precious outdoor time.
- Protect fragile skin with sunscreen. Apply it at least 30 minutes before going outside.
- Cover your scalp. Whether it's a baseball cap, a wide-brimmed gardening hat or a floppy fishing hat, head coverings are definitely your friend.
- Wear long-sleeved tops and pants in breathable summer fabrics.
- Relax in shady spots.
Posted on Tue, June 16, 2020
by Shawn Deane