Numerous studies have found that the more active an elderly person is, the more likely they are to be happy, healthy and even live longer. Exercising outside is even more beneficial for a senior’s mind and body than doing so indoors because of the sun’s invigorating rays, the fresh air and socializing opportunities. But if you’re caring for an aging in place loved one, coming up with some fun activities to get them outside the house can be challenging. If this sounds all too familiar, here are 4 great ways to convince your senior loved one to head outdoors.
How Staying Active Benefits Seniors
Living a more active lifestyle that includes getting outdoors on a regular basis benefits a senior’s health and wellbeing in so many ways, starting with these:
- Fights off depression. Researchers have found that exposure to sunlight improves a person’s sense of wellbeing by stimulating the release of endorphins (“feel-good” chemicals) in the brain. Combining the sun’s healthy rays with exercise is a “dynamic duo” when it comes to fighting off depression.
- Helps prevent falls. Regular outdoor exercise also helps lower one’s fall risk because the extra activity improves muscle strength, bone health, flexibility and range-of-motion; all of which ultimately benefit balance and coordination.
- Improves cognitive health. Concentrating while participating in outdoor activities is good for a senior’s mind. Studies have determined that the more active a senior is, the less likely they are to develop dementia or Alzheimer’s in the first place, or at the very least increased mind activity helps slow the progression of cognitive impairment once it starts.
4 Outdoor Activities that Seniors Enjoy
Now that you’ve seen how regular outdoor exercise improves a senior’s quality of life, here are 4 fun activities to try:
Whether it’s a long hike in the woods, or a brisk 20-minute stroll around the neighborhood, walking is a low-impact form of exercise that builds cardio, strengthens core muscles and reduces stress. It’s also an easy way to enjoy some fresh air and take in nature’s beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
Yoga is another exercise that benefits a senior’s body in so many ways without placing a lot of stress on sensitive joint and muscle tissues. In addition to the physical benefits, Yoga is also a positive way to cleanse one’s mind and boost their sense of wellbeing. For seniors enrolled in the Silver Sneakers program (www.silversneakers.com), many communities even offer free outdoor Yoga classes at local parks.
The body movements used when tending a garden are good for an older person’s muscles, bones and joints, and gardening also provides some aerobic benefits. Growing nutritious fruits and veggies that later end up on a senior’s plate is also beneficial to their health.
The concentration that’s involved when playing golf helps sharpen an aging adult’s mental acuity and memory. Walking a hilly course as opposed to riding in a cart will also improve a senior’s cardio endurance and core muscle strength. Many courses offer senior discounts and leagues, and golf is also a great way to socialize and enjoy some lively conversation!
Outdoor Activity Precautions
Before participating in any of these outdoor activities, make sure that your loved one has been cleared by their doctor. They should also take these precautions when venturing outside:
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Wear sunscreen even on cloudy days.
- Watch the pollen count if allergies are a concern. On days when the pollen count is high, it may be best to focus on some indoor activities instead.
In-Home Caregivers that Love Getting Seniors Outdoors
Just because HomeChoice Home Care Solutions specializes in home care doesn’t mean we don’t believe in getting seniors outdoors for some fun activities too. In fact, our highly trained in-home caregivers love helping seniors stay active through outdoor exercise so they can continue aging comfortably in place right where they want to be. As a fully licensed and insured agency, our compassionate caregivers can also provide in-home services like light housekeeping, personal hygiene, meals, grocery shopping, medication reminders, escorted transportation and companionship.
For your loved one’s added safety and security, we carefully screen our caregivers in advance. And, all our family trusted services can be personalized into an affordable package when and where you need them! To learn more about HomeChoice Home Care Solutions now, or to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation for your senior today, please call or visit us online.