After a cold and snowy winter, the initial hints of springtime weather make most people anxious to spend time outdoors. Fresh air, warm sunshine, and awakening foliage go a long way toward curing months-long feelings of boredom and isolation—as well as recent sheltering-in-place frustrations.
Older adults, it turns out, are even less likely than those from other age groups to venture outdoors. Some seniors cite a lack of mobility or limiting health conditions, while others fail to appreciate the multiple advantages of being outside.
Take vitamin D, for example. Vitamin D helps protect us against the effects of diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, and depression. But as we age, we tend to generate vitamin D more slowly. Luckily, exposing our skin for short periods to the sun’s ultraviolet B light prompts our bodies to create vitamin D.
While you should wear sunscreen whenever you’re outdoors for an extended length of time, limited exposure to 10 to 15 minutes of direct sunlight a few times a week can help produce the vitamin D your body requires.
Being outdoors during daylight hours can also lift our moods. Psychological studies prove that time outside helps us feel more lively and energized while providing us with a greater sense of personal well-being.
“Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses,” says Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester.
“Nature is something within which we flourish,” adds Ryan, “so having it be more a part of our lives is critical.”
According to Ryan’s research, spending as little as twenty minutes outdoors every day can noticeably improve energy levels.
Other Health Benefits
With so much available to do outside, it’s hard to avoid being active. From going for a walk to tending a garden, increasing your physical activity helps reduce boredom, enhances happiness, and improves your overall health.
Research also shows that exposure to natural light aids us in recovering from illnesses and injuries—often with less pain. And time outdoors presents us with expanded opportunities to socialize with others.
At Sunset Communities, we offer residents countless opportunities to enjoy the natural beauty found on our magnificent grounds. Our sprawling 70-acre campus at Sunset Village, an inviting bricked patio at Sunset House, and the walking and bike-riding trails that weave among the natural setting of Fieldstone Villas all beckon our residents outdoors.
We hope you enjoy these photos of our outside spaces.
A shady seating area on the patio at Sunset House.
A walking/cycling path along the pond at Fieldstone Villas.
Seating and walking areas among the Sunset Village campus.
An outdoor dining area on the Sunset House patio
Lush landscaping surrounding a walking path around The Woodlands.