Older adults tend to spend a lot of time and effort taking care of themselves. And there’s always so much to learn about diet, exercise, and all the latest research on health and wellness. But one of the best actions you can take to benefit your health is to simply go outside.

The health benefits of being outside have been well known for centuries, and scientific study continues to prove this to be true. 

Here are 10 proven benefits of being outside:

1. Boost Physical Health

Spending time outside and getting lots of fresh air has great physical health benefits. Breathing air that may have less dust can lessen symptoms of asthma and some other respiratory ailments. Being outside also may lower your blood pressure and slow your heart rate. At the same time, being outside can give you a boost of energy.

2. Improve Eyesight

Studies show that one of the benefits of nature is that it can help your eyesight. People who spend more time outside can lower their risk of vision problems. Being able to focus on objects that vary in distance and to be exposed to natural light may be the reason for this benefit.

3. Enjoy Better Sleep

One of the most important benefits of being outside is improved sleep. A study from Stanford showed that being outside helps people regulate their sleep-wake cycle. Being outside in the light of day helps your body to naturally recognize daytime versus nighttime, and even a small amount of exercise helps you get a better night’s sleep. This is especially true for people over age 65.

4. Improve Fitness

People tend to burn more calories when they exercise outside compared to people who work out indoors. Also, the visual interest and distractions of terrain that you experience while outside tend to make you exercise for longer periods of time and end up getting a better workout. One of the great benefits of nature is that it’s always interesting to look at.

5. Reduce Inflammation

Some studies show that spending time outside can reduce inflammation. This can help with any number of physical ailments and can not only improve your workouts by reducing pain, but it can help the healing process after your workout that leads to muscle building.

6. Absorb Vitamin D

Exposure to sunlight gives you a boost of vitamin D, which is needed for bone growth. This is especially important for older adults because it can help fight osteoporosis. Vitamin D is also important for proper function of your immune system.

More than one-third of adults in the U.S. are deficient in vitamin D. This can lead to health problems such as heart attack, stroke or cancer. But getting more vitamin D into your system is as easy and fun as just stepping outside into the sunshine.

It’s important to remember that you can get too much exposure to sunlight. Proper use of sunscreen and wearing protective clothing are important to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Also, keeping to shaded areas can protect you from getting too much sun while still allowing you to get more vitamin D.

7. Improve Mental Health

One of the greatest benefits to being outside is that it makes you happier. Many studies have shown that people find themselves in a better emotional state after spending time outside, whether they’re walking, socializing, or even just sitting and enjoying the scenery. One of the great benefits of nature is it just feels good to be in it.

8. Reduce Stress

Studies show that walking in a wooded environment reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When levels of cortisol are too high, it can lead to health problems such as anxiety and depression, concentration problems, and even sleep disorders. These all have a negative effect on mood.

Being outside in nature also stimulates all your senses in a way that being indoors cannot. This makes you feel more aware and alert, and experiencing this awakened state over time can improve your self-esteem.

9. Increase Brain Function

The improved blood flow, better sleep, stronger immune system, better mood and increased alertness all contribute to good brain health. Improved mental focus and the ability to concentrate for longer periods of time have been documented. 

10. Boost Creativity

There’s even evidence that spending time outside improves creativity. People are at their most creative when they’re relaxed, and one of the benefits of being outside is that it helps you unwind. It’s also a great excuse to unplug and get away from all the screens in our lives. 

Spend Time Outside at Peace Village

At Peace Village, we have an amazing outdoor space that we maintain for our residents to enjoy. Being outside is so beneficial to health and wellness. It can be relaxing or invigorating, and it’s always fun. 

Having convenient access to such a beautiful outdoor environment is just one of the wonderful benefits you’ll find we have at Peace Village that allows you to live life to the fullest.