The global pandemic, which began in the first quarter of 2020, has pushed nearly everyone to stay indoors and refrain from doing any non-essential travel. This 2021, however, things are beginning to improve. Some nations have gotten the pandemic under control and decided to loosen restrictions. If you and your folks live in these countries, you may have the opportunity to step outside your house without worries and get your body moving.
If you have an elderly individual who’s cooped up at home, such as your mom or dad in their golden years, consider having them leave outside their home, get some fresh air and start doing outdoor activities.
Benefits of Outdoor Activities
Seniors can enjoy mental and physical health benefits when they do fun outdoor activities. Here are a few notable perks of doing activities outside the house:
Helps Improve Sleep
Many are losing quality sleep because of the pandemic. According to a report from UC Davis Health, a lot of people are suffering from coronasomnia, a form of insomnia brought about by the stress of the pandemic.
If your elderly parents are having trouble sleeping at night, they may benefit from outdoor senior fitness workouts. When people exercise, they tend to sleep more restfully. As a result, they wake up refreshed and ready to take on whatever tasks they need to do for the day.
Keeps Vitamin D Levels Healthy
Rather than order Vitamin D supplements for your parents, why not let them spend time outside where it’s more enjoyable? Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, may help protect against certain diseases, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.
Makes People Feel More Energized
Spending time with nature helps people feel more alive — and research can back up that good vibe. A report from the University of Rochester found that simply being outdoors offers greater feelings of vitality. What’s more, it makes individuals more resistant to illnesses.
If you have an elderly family member who’s feeling mentally tired, ask them to do some outdoor activities. Getting outside is a good way for sluggish seniors to feel more active and healthy.
Ideal Outdoor Activities for Seniors
Although some seniors can do demanding activities outdoors, such as playing tennis or riding bikes, others may face restrictions due to physical limitations. There are, however, outdoor activities that are suitable for all levels of physical ability.
Here are some activities that older adults can do outside:
Another great outdoor activity for older adults is trying to catch a big one in a local pond, lake or beach. Fishing is a treasured pastime that enables the elderly to set their own pace and appreciate the great outdoors.
What’s more, this activity is something seniors can do with a family member or a friend. Their companion can provide good activity and help keep them safe if they’re fishing in the middle of a lake.
Go on a Picnic
A picnic allows older adults to enjoy the fresh air and appreciate nature’s beauty. Picnics are typically a summer activity, but your elderly folks can also do this during spring and autumn when the weather is good.
When planning a picnic for elderly people, make sure that you choose an area with a good amount of shade and comfortable seating.
Take Photos Outside
Digital cameras that are easy to use don’t cost much for the fun they inspire. You can take your senior mom or dad outside and encourage them to take photos as they take a stroll. They could, for instance, snap pictures of flowers in the neighborhood, people who are jogging on the side of the street, public parks, beaches, trees and sunsets.
Your elderly folks don’t have to go far just to get some sunshine and air. They can tend to their garden simply by stepping out of their home and into their yard. Active seniors can grow full-scale gardens, while the elderly with limited physical abilities can take care of plants in containers.
You could even take this outdoor activity a step further by asking seniors to maintain the flowers and other plants at the local park. This will allow them to get more exercise and maybe even learn more about flowers and other flora.
Check out a Flea Market or a Farmer’s Market
Older adults who love shopping will like the idea of visiting a flea market. While they’re walking around outside, they may find a bargain they like or simply have a great time browsing the antiques.
If the flea market is a bit too crowded for your elderly folks, you could take them on a trip to a farmer’s market. Besides being a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, this activity is a chance to buy healthy foods to prepare for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Play Outdoor Sports
If your folks are still active, encourage them to do fun outdoor activities by playing sports. Just make sure that they are senior-friendly activities. A few low-impact sports examples include croquet, miniature golf and horseshoe pitching. Elderly participants can play at the pace they want.
Staying Safe While Doing Outdoor Activities
When doing any activity outside with your elderly folks, everyone should follow the standard health protocols, such as practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and avoiding crowded areas.
Besides that, seniors should take note of these safety tips when performing outdoor activities:
- Check the weather in advance. Postpone your planned outdoor activity if the weather for the day is too hot or too cold.
- Bring a first aid kit with you at all times. Also, take the time to learn basic first aid, so you know how to identify and treat illnesses and injuries. Make sure you learn how to identify symptoms of dehydration, hypothermia, heatstroke and heat exhaustion.
- Choose safe, frequently used and sufficiently lit routes if you and your folks are going on a stroll. Also, make sure that the routes you pick have rest stops or places to sit.
- Ask your folks to keep a water bottle with them during hot days to prevent dehydration.
- Know the right people to call in the event of a medical emergency. This way, you can contact them to prevent health problems from getting worse.
Outdoor activities are great ways for elderly individuals to improve their physical and mental health, as well as combat the typical rigors of age. So, take steps to encourage your old folks to take a stroll outside or enjoy the great outdoors.