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Posted by The Woodlands on June 15, 2022

At The Woodlands at Canterfield, we promote healthy and active lifestyles for residents, giving them the support they need to experience physical and mental health benefits. One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to spend quality time outside.

Below, we are exploring the benefits of being outside, including the positive impact it can have on mental health. We hope that you will incorporate some of these activities into your daily schedule, so you can begin to experience the benefits yourself.

Mental Health Benefits of Being Outside

Spending part of your day outside can have immediate and long-lasting benefits. When you step outside and relax in nature:

  • You become better connected to the natural rhythms of the world
  • You engage with fresh air and natural sunlight
  • You avoid spending excessive time in front of a television or computer screen

These moments of engagement and peace can positively influence your mood, reduce your stress and anxiety levels, lower your heart rate and improve your sleep. Depending on the types of activities you choose, being outside can also improve muscle strength, heart health and cognitive function.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety

From day to day, most people experience some form of stress. Unfortunately, your stress levels can be exacerbated by remaining inside. When you spend each day inside, you put yourself at increased risk of experiencing restlessness, lethargy and insomnia.

One of the benefits of being outside is it can reduce those feelings of stress and restlessness. Whether you are taking a morning walk, gardening or relaxing in the shade of a tree, experiencing the sunshine and the breeze can be enough to help you disconnect from the source of your stress, so you can return with a fresh perspective.

Improve the Quality of Your Sleep 

Although so much of what we do today is driven by technology, our bodies still work best when following natural rhythms. This can be helped by spending time outside. 

A brisk walk every morning can invigorate you and help you face the challenges of the day, while a leisurely stroll in the evening is a great way to naturally unwind and prepare for sleep. Also, when you are experiencing natural light and exercising daily, your body becomes more in sync with the world, making it easier for you to fall asleep at night.

Finally, spending time outside also limits your exposure to harsh artificial lights and the harmful effects of computer, television and mobile phone screens. 

Outdoor Activities That Promote Mental Health

There is no single outdoor activity that provides more mental health benefits than others, which is good. That means you can enjoy the mental health benefits of being outside by engaging in many different activities. Here are a few that can be done each day, including a blend of active and leisure pastimes.

Walking

This is one of the best outdoor activities because it requires so little. Simply lace up your shoes and step out your front door, and you’re ready to go. In addition, research indicates that daily walks can promote better mental health and improve physical mobility and independence for older adults. 

Gardening

Whether you are growing your own vegetables or watching beautiful flowers bloom, spending time in your garden can have many positive mental health benefits. Aside from the fresh feeling of the breeze and the cool earth in your hands, gardening also gives many older adults a sense of purpose in their day. And there are few feelings as rewarding as pulling fresh produce out of the ground – produce that you raised and harvested on your own.

Playing Sports

When it comes to playing sports, there is the joy of engaging in a favorite activity. Beyond that is the pleasure of playing with other people – a social aspect leading to strong friendships and social engagement. Of course, check with your healthcare provider before participating in any new or high-intensity sport. 

No matter what you decide to do, there are benefits to being outside – every day, if possible. At The Woodlands at Canterfield, we want residents to enjoy happy, healthy and productive lives – and we make this possible with engaging social events and beautiful outdoor spaces.

We encourage you to spend some time outside today and every day. Visit our website to discover The Woodlands at Canterfield, a brand-new assisted living and memory care community in West Dundee, Illinois.

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