Outdoor Activities to Lift the Spirits

Being in nature has a way of revitalizing a tired soul. The University of Rochester agrees, in a recent study showing that outdoor activities can make people feel more alive.

Dr. Richard Ryan, professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester suggests, “Nature is fuel for the soul. Often, when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature.” Obviously, nature paths and forest trails were created for good reason. Consider a daily walk in the trees, or by a river or lake for a lovely pick me up.

Outdoor activities can exercise the body and build emotional health. When you add physical games, motor skills get a workout, as does hand-eye coordination. It can stave off exhaustion, and generate an all-encompassing sense of well being.

There is another outstanding benefit to being outdoors in the sun: getting ample vitamin D, which your body produces when exposed to sunlight. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are many health problems that can be avoided if you get the proper amount of vitamin D. A sufficient amount of vitamin D may even help prevent falls in the elderly.

A few activities that will bring your loved one outdoors for a few hours of sun and fun include

Outdoor Games

There are many competitive and entertaining outdoor games that can be played right in the yard, or at a local park. Many that attract seniors include horseshoes, lawn darts, bocce ball, croquet, ladderball, and badminton. They get you up and active, and even create a little sweat!

Fruit Picking

This is a favorite of many people who live in assisted living homes because it means a car trip. It’s surprising how many elderly people who don’t drive anymore miss a nice drive in the country.

No matter where you live there will inevitably be a fruit picking event somewhere close by. In states like California it is almost continual. Depending on the season, you can pick apples, oranges, cherries, strawberries and peaches, to name just a few.

Send the Indoor Activities Outside

If puzzles, arts and crafts, or card and board games are a favorite indoor activity, bring them to a table outside. Other indoor activities that you can move to the lawn include yoga, as well as any other stretching exercises or aerobics.

When planning an outing with a group, be sure to consider the age range and interests of all involved. For group outings, put up posters and fliers to ensure a great turnout.

Whether these are viable options or not, outdoor activities can inspire the joy of living in loved ones, especially when it includes spending fun time with family.

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