In a heavily industrialised and urbanised modern day world, we’ve sadly but surely become disconnected with nature. Our need to reconnect is greater than ever – for the benefit of ourselves and the planet. Whilst it’s important for all of us to get outdoors, it’s even more essential for older generations to spend time outside, as it’s been shown to boost our mental and physical health.
Mental health benefits
Being amongst nature offers a multitude of mental health benefits, with exposure to sunlight and a natural breeze helping to instantly boost our mood. As humans, we are genetically programmed to thrive in the outdoors, so spending too much time indoors can contribute to increased anxiety and stress. The mere smell of fresh grass, fresh flowers, dried herbs and pine provides us with a natural dose of aromatherapy that does wonders for refreshing and rejuvenating the mind.
Physical health benefits
Surrounding yourself with the earth’s natural elements can also positively impact your body’s physiological state. Increased exposure to sunlight is thought to reduce physical pain, whilst also nourishing the body with a natural source of vitamin D – which is needed for overall bodily functions and reducing inflammation. Spending time outdoors, studies suggest, also boosts the immune system, increasing your white blood cell count to reduce the instances of illness and infection.
How you can get outside
It’s essential the older generation stay as mobile as is possible, and venturing into the outdoors certainly makes it easier. If you find that you’re limited physically, then it’s worth asking a family member or carer to assist in helping you take that step. Not only will this help to build your confidence in having a change of scenery, but you’ll also have someone you trust on-hand for support.
Reconnecting with nature
As humans, we are biologically and instinctively drawn towards nature. It’s therefore more important than ever that we take the effort to rekindle our innate connections with nature, simply by spending time outdoors and making the best use of our senses. Taking a mindful approach to the outdoors is the best way to do this, and maximises the health benefits you’ll be gaining. Take the time to consciously notice the refreshing smells, and beautiful sights and sounds that you experience.
It’s also thought that spending time in the outdoors encourages prosocial behaviour, boosting our desire to help others.
At Huntington and Langham Estate, we encourage our people to spend as much time as is possible in the outdoors. Whether that’s venturing out for a walk, sitting outside with their favourite tipple, picking up their gardening hobbies or engaging in some flower picking (which is a particularly popular pastime), we like to ensure that our people are really taking in their surroundings – however they choose to do so. To find out more about the care we offer, please click here.