Throughout the month of April, there are many days perfectly suited for staying indoors. On those quiet, dreary afternoons, we can watch the rain stream down our windows, warm our hands around a cup of tea, and soak up hours of peaceful solitude. But as everyone knows, April weather can be unpredictable. On other days, we may wake up to the spring sun peeking through the clouds, shining its light on a world that’s just starting to wake up. Days like these are made for enjoying the outdoors.
It’s no coincidence that both National Walking Day and National Park Week take place in April. Bright blooms, fresh grass, and new leaves make the perfect backdrop to any activity, and after a few afternoons spent surrounded by storm clouds and the steady patter of rain, a day in the sun is just what the doctor ordered. In fact, most health professionals agree that spending time outdoors has numerous health benefits for seniors. For starters, many seniors suffer from low levels of Vitamin D, which can lead to muscle and bone pain, fatigue, and other negative side effects. When we let our skin spend some time in the sun (with sunscreen, of course) our bodies are prompted to make Vitamin D, which promotes healthy bones and teeth.
Experts at Harvard Medical School also believe that time spent outside is time well spent. According to their July, 2010 Health Letter, “Light tends to elevate people’s mood, and unless you live in a glass house or are using a light box to treat seasonal affective disorder, there’s usually more light available outside than in. Physical activity has been shown to relax and cheer people up, so if being outside replaces inactive pursuits with active ones, it might also mean more smiles and laughter.”
Our residents are always excited to spring into spring. Whether it is organizing a walking club, relaxing on our front porch or in our courtyard, going for a stroll around the neighborhood or taking an Out and About trip to a local park, they are ready to enjoy a variety of activities under blue skies and sunshine.
We are currently gearing up for our Campus in Color competition, where our residents team up with staff and community members to fill our campus grounds with beautiful blooms worth bragging about! We encourage you to get involved in this special time by joining our residents in any of their outdoor pursuits at a campus near you.