12 September, 2022 | 10 min read

Sunshine Time: The Benefits of Getting Outdoors for Older Adults

If you could use a boost in your mood, a little motivation to keep moving, or help to fall asleep faster, the answer might be just steps away from your door. 

The amazing benefits of getting outdoors for older adults extends far past enjoying the warmth on a cool day or the feeling of sunshine on your face. 

In fact, the U.S. Forest Service, experts at the advantages of spending time in nature, offers the following gains: 

Physical wellness 

Spending time outdoors can support a healthy and active lifestyle, increasing life expectancy and even reducing cancer risk. Research has shown a lower risk for chronic illnesses for those with close proximity to green spaces. 

Mental wellness 

Studies have also documented how an individual’s mental capacity can be restored by spending time in nature – as well as a lower risk of depression and improved stress management.  

Wellness in the community 

Entire communities benefit from nature through reduced environmental stressors often found in cities, such as air pollution, noise and heat. Neighborhoods with increased green space can see a lower crime rate and a more congenial relationship with neighbors. 

The benefits of spending time outdoors 

Many people have developed a habit of staying out of the sun. While it’s important to protect yourself from overexposure that can lead to skin damage and cancer, there are vitamin D benefits received from those warming, comforting rays. According to the World Health Organization, 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands and face two to three times per week is enough to provide essential health benefits. 

The following advantages have been associated with experiencing the outdoors: 

1. Increased oxygen levels

Being outside in the fresh air also means you’ll be increasing your oxygen levels as you take deep breaths, which can help you feel more energized and alert.

2. Sharpened brain responses

This extra oxygen in the brain also means that your mind can be sharper and clearer, which can lead to feeling more relaxed. 

3. Decreased stress levels

Naturally reducing feelings of anxiety and stress is another benefit of older adults getting outdoors as the fresh air can increase your serotonin levels. 

4. Increased levels of vitamin D

Exposure to sunshine can help you build healthy bones, reduce inflammation and manage calcium levels. 

5. Decreased blood pressure and heart rate

When you take advantage of the fresh air outdoors, your energy levels can increase, in turn leading you to exercise or become more active and experience greater concentration. 

Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted living

6. Improved sleeping patterns

By helping set circadian rhythms, the sunlight helps regulate serotonin and melatonin levels, providing another benefit of getting outdoors for older adults. 

7. Reduced depression

Lower levels of serotonin, from less exposure to the sun, can lead to an increased risk of depression, formerly known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). 

8. Reduced risk of anxiety-related disorders

Research has also found a link between the changing seasons and reduced sunlight to the experience of anxiety-related disorders and panic attacks. 

9. Improved cognitive resources

A benefit of getting outdoors is the increased ability to concentrate and pay attention. Those who were able to enjoy the soothing sounds of nature performed better in a study than those who heard traffic sounds. 

10. Improved mood

For most people, being outside makes them feel better overall. When people feel connected to the natural world they tend to feel happier – even if they’re not physically enjoying the outdoors at the time. 

Assisted living communities offer the benefits of getting outdoors for older adults 

There are several advantages to life in an assisted living community, including an accessible residence, healthy dining, fitness and exercise classes and many opportunities to make new friends, all while enjoying a maintenance-free lifestyle. 

The benefit of getting outdoors can help older adults meet their health and wellness goals. You’ll have many choices – participating in outdoor activities, enjoying lunch with friends on the patio, working in the garden, taking a stroll among the flowers or even just sitting for a while with a favorite book or lost in thought with the sun shining on your face. 

Whether you enjoy the beauty of nature and the outdoors on the grounds of your community or at a planned off-site activity, you’ll know you are also restoring your body and mind.  

Life at Eskaton Communities 

The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years. 

The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents with everything they need for purposeful living. 

We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as: 

  • Private residences 
  • Delicious and nutritious meals 
  • Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
  • Creative activities and therapies 
  • Fitness centers and exercise classes 
  • Housekeeping services 
  • Transportation services 
  • 24-hour staffing 
  • Pet-friendly 
  • Free Wi-Fi 
  • And much, much more! 

If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living. To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org. 
Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted living