As our loved ones age and become less agile, they may be inclined to spend more and more time indoors. However, it is crucial to keep in the mind benefits of outdoor activities. Outdoor activities are not only beneficial for your loved ones’ physical health but also their mental health. Engaging in regular outdoor activities such as exercise will help them feel less gloomy and more in touch with themselves while improving energy levels and overall disposition by providing a surge of serotonin, more commonly known as feel-good hormones. Even if they do not suffer from any mental health conditions, outdoor activities can do wonders for their general mental wellbeing. Below are some outdoor activities that you can suggest to your loved ones, as well as how they benefit their mental health.
Gardening is classified by the CDC as a form of non-strenuous exercise for older adults. The physical act of tending to plants has physical benefits and encourages your loved ones to keep active without overly exerting themselves. Moreover, gardening has been scientifically proven to mitigate stress levels and increase the happiness of individuals. Gardening also serves to combat memory loss such as Alzheimer’s since it strengthens the part of one’s brain that retains memories. So, why not try and get your loved ones into gardening? It is not just good for the environment, but good for their overall health as well.
Additionally, going on walks is also an extremely beneficial outdoor activity that is not overly taxing. Not only does it stimulate one’s body by loosening the joints and getting the blood flowing but it is also a rewarding cardiovascular workout that helps prevent muscles from atrophying. Furthermore, walking has been shown to boost energy levels and attention span. On top of this, psychologists believe that a mere 10-minute walk can decrease anxiety levels greatly. You can even suggest your loved ones go walking with their friends, and this can become a social activity for all of them.
Yet another outdoor activity that is perfectly suited for your loved ones since it is not too physically demanding is outdoor meditation. Meditation consists of staying in a comfortable position with one’s eyes closed for a period of time while trying to focus on positive affirmations and disregarding distracting thoughts. This has shown signs of decreasing stress levels, blood pressure, and tension. It also helps to sharpen one’s cognitive abilities over time while tackling memory loss and depression, Outdoor meditation also has the added benefit of enveloping one’s self in the calming and soothing sounds of nature, which can act as an anchor to reality.
As the new year begins and the weather becomes nice and warm, why not encourage your loved ones to take part in more outdoor activities to reap the mental health benefits. Be it going on leisurely strolls or quiet meditation, outdoor activities have a whole host of rewarding factors. You can even accompany your loved ones on these outdoor trips and spend some precious quality time with them!