Spring is here in the Pacific Northwest, along with some rainy days and it’s the perfect time to get outside and spend time in nature. Going outdoors is a great way to relax and soak in peace in the natural beauty that surrounds us. Best of all, there are real benefits to enjoying the outdoors, especially for seniors.


Research suggests that spending time in nature and regular physical activity have the potential to improve physical and mental health of seniors. According to the research, seniors who spend ample time in outdoor areas can have long term functional health benefits that can be attributed to more vitamin D exposure.


Here are some of the health benefits of being outdoors for seniors.


1. Mental Health Improvement

Seniors who spend time outdoors may experience less depression and anxiety. Individuals who run, bike or walk in natural settings have a reduced risk of mental health problems compared to people who do their exercise inside. The relaxation that nature provides can improve mood and increase overall feelings of happiness.


2. Decreases Fatigue

We’ve all encountered that feeling when your brain can’t quite get up to speed aka “brain fog”. One physician says, “exercise can turn back the clock in the brain.”


One thing that can help get your mind back into gear is exposing it to restorative environments, which include the great outdoors. Natural beauty can elicit feelings of awe, which is one of the surest ways to experience a mental boost. One study found that people’s mental energy bounced back just looking at pictures of nature, while pictures of city scenes had no effect.


3. Decreases Feelings of Isolation

Spending time in nature promotes social interaction, whether through meeting new people or spending time with friends and loved ones. Natural environments are comforting sites for spiritual connectedness and for escaping the strains common in later life, such as boredom, isolation and loneliness. In addition, spending time in natural places increases one’s sense of purpose and accomplishment.


4. Lowers Risk of Early Death

A study from the American Cancer Society found that people—especially seniors—who walked just under two hours per week had a lower risk of death than those who did not. Life expectancy, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental illness, and even quality of sleep has all been shown to improve with increased physical activity.


5. Can Decrease Feelings of Anxiety or Depression

Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues may all be eased by some time in nature — especially when that’s combined with exercise. A study found that walks in the forest were associated with decreased levels of anxiety and bad moods. Another found that outdoor walks could be “useful clinically as a supplement to existing treatments” for major depressive disorder.



Ways to Get Outside

You don’t have to take a challenging hike to get the health benefits of being outdoors. There are countless ways to encourage seniors to get active and spend time outside. Here are a few easy ways to get started.




Birdwatching is one of the best outdoor activities for seniors who want to connect with nature.

Many seniors find it to be a surprisingly rewarding activity. It doesn’t take long for a beginner to realize what a soothing, therapeutic experience birdwatching can be.


If you live in the Redding area, you have access to a wide variety of native and migrating birds. Read our blog post with tips on spotting some of the more than 50 distinct bird species that have been sighted on and around the Meadow Ridge campus.




Picnicking is the quintessential outdoor activity. Whether you’re enjoying a meal for two in the backyard or meeting with friends for a feast in the park, a picnic is the perfect way to get an elderly loved one outside into the fresh air.


Fruit Picking


Picking your own fruit — whether apples, strawberries, raspberries or another variety — offers the benefits of outdoor exercise and stocking up on healthy foods. If you live in Fairfield County, here’s a list of pick-your-own fruit farms.




This is one of the most popular outdoor activities for older adults. It’s also one of the best ways for seniors to stay active. While some people don’t really think of gardening as exercise, it is an excellent way for seniors to maintain strength and make light aerobic activity a part of daily life.




Going out for a walk can be a great way to take in the world, get some fresh air, and step away from stress and distractions. It’s also one of the most recommended forms of light exercise by health professionals.


No matter how you choose to do it, getting outdoors has many health benefits in store for you. Learn more about how Family Resource Home Care supports healthy living and wellness in every dimension here.



The Benefits of Spending Time in Nature: Why You Should Get Outside More Often

The Relationship Between Outdoor Activity and Health in Older Adults Using GPS

Enjoy the Health Benefits of the Outdoors at Any Age

How Hiking Benefits Your Brain

Study: Even a Little Walking May Help You Live Longer