For many people, the pandemic has been a time where much time has been spent quarantined in one’s home, and didn’t spend as much time going out or seeing others. On the other hand, public health experts came to tell us that socializing outdoors was a far safer option than staying indoors and doing it. Events of all kinds, from weddings, to family visits, to church services all picked up stakes and moved to the great outdoors as weather permitted.
If you find yourself, or an older loved one you care for, are still spending significant amounts of the day indoors, it’s time to consider various ways you can get out of the house and back into nature again. A number of studies have shown that spending time in green spaces, or in “blue spaces” which are found near water, is very beneficial for the mental, emotional, and physical health of older adults. The University of Tokyo has found that spending time in nature is a major way that elders can lessen some of the negative effects of social distancing. Other documented effects include
- Improved brain health: Nature reduces stress, and too much stress is bad for the brain.
- Strengthens the immune system: Vitamin D is required for a strong immune response, and that just happens to be best received by the body through exposure to sunlight.
- Encourage exercise: Numerous studies, as well as common sense, show that people are far more likely to be active when outdoors. A brisk walk is more fun and interesting than an equal amount of time on the treadmill.