Getting outside is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies and our minds. It improves long-distance vision and attention span, reduces stress, and increases immunity. Simply the Vitamin D provided by sunlight alone can improve cognitive function and prevent bone problems, heart disease, and diabetes. Getting outside also helps fight depression.
Unfortunately, seniors are especially prone to getting stuck in the rut of remaining indoors. The idea of going outside seems like so much effort, and many people have physical disabilities or simple, everyday discomforts such as back pain that make movement difficult.
But there are actually plenty of ways to get outside without too much stress on joints and muscles – and you’ll still get all those healthy benefits. Here are a few ideas:
- Sporting Events: Watch your grandchild play soccer or catch a ball game.
- Go fishing: Fishing is not too physically taxing – and you can even fish from a wheelchair.
- Go swimming: Water aerobics is very low impact, so it’s easier on joints, but at the same time, you still build muscle and exercise.
- Go for a walk: You don’t have to go far!
- Read outside: Simply sitting in the sun reading can be a completely different experience than being indoors.
- Watch the birds: If you have a bird feeder or birdbath in your yard, simply replenishing it and watching the birds is a lovely way to spend time outside.
- Take the grandkids out: Whether you’re having a light picnic or flying kites, taking kids outside is a lot of fun without a lot of strain.
- Play some yard games: Casual, low-impact yard games are easy and fun to do with the family. Try playing croquet, badminton, or cornhole.
- Start a garden: Gardening can help improve strength, mobility, and focus. It’s even been shown to help prevent osteoporosis.
- Ride a bike: Riding a bike is much easier on joints than walking. You can buy an adult tricycle – many of them even come with low back support.
- Be a tourist: Bundle up and take a trolley tour, or any other local tourist attractions in your area – you don’t have to be too active, and you get to learn something new!
- Sit by a window: But no worries, if you’re not up to going outside just yet, simply sitting by a window can still give you some of the same benefits.
Of course, heading outside here in Chicago isn’t an appealing option year-round. The snow and cold weather can be a big obstacle, and it’s important to prepare – bundle up, stay hydrated, and be aware of the increased risk of falling due to slippery ice.
But just because there are obstacles to getting outside doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, and even though it may not seem like it, spring is on the way! For more tips like this, or to look into the possibility of in home care to help you get outside a little more often, contact Freedom Home Care today.