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  • Monica Eastway

Nature's Path to Healthy Aging: How Engaging with the Great Outdoors Can Promote Vitality

Just being surrounded by bountiful nature, rejuvenates and inspires us.

– EO Wilson (Theory of biophilia)


As we age, taking care of our physical and mental wellbeing becomes increasingly essential. One way to do this is by engaging with nature. Being in nature can have various benefits for older adults, including improved physical health and cognitive function. The different ways of being in nature can facilitate healthy, active aging for older adults in different ways.


One way to engage with nature is through physical activity. Many outdoor activities, such as hiking, gardening, and bird-watching, provide a low-impact form of exercise that is easy on the joints and can help older adults stay active. Hiking trails are a great way to exercise while enjoying nature's beauty. Gardening is another great way to get some exercise and can be a great way to grow your own food.


Another way to engage with nature is through social engagement. Many outdoor activities, such as gardening clubs or walking groups, allow older adults to meet and interact with others who share similar interests. This social engagement can help improve mental wellbeing and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.


Nature can also be a great source of inspiration and creativity. Many older adults find that spending time in nature helps them tap into their creativity, providing a sense of purpose and fulfillment in their lives.

Painting and sketching are some ways to tap into this inspiration, while photography and bird-watching are other ways to experience the beauty and wonder of nature.


Additionally, nature can provide a sense of peace and tranquility that can help older adults manage stress and improve their overall wellbeing. Sitting in a park and listening to birds chirping or simply walking in a forest can help reduce stress levels, improve mood, and promote a sense of calm and relaxation.

I go to nature to be soothed, healed and have my senses put in order.

– John Burroughs

Engaging with nature can be a powerful tool in facilitating healthy, active aging for older adults and all ages! The different ways of being in nature can promote healthy, active aging through physical activity, social engagement, creative inspiration, or mental wellbeing; simultaneously!


Enjoy daily time in nature!


Improve and maintain a healthy lifestyle and overall quality of life, and promote healthy aging.


Let's Bring Care Outdoors!

All Ages Need Nature!


References


Finlay, J., Franke, T., McKay, H., & Sims-Gould, J. (2015). Therapeutic landscapes and wellbeing in later life: Impacts of blue and green spaces for older adults. Health & Place, 34, 97-106.

Gladwell, V. F., Brown, D. K., Wood, C., Sandercock, G. R., & Barton, J. L. (2013). The great outdoors: how a green exercise environment can benefit all. Extreme physiology & medicine, 2(1), 1-7.


Moriggi, A., Soini, K., Bock, B. B., & Roep, D. (2020). Caring in, for, and with nature: An integrative framework to understand green care practices. Sustainability, 12(8), 3361.


Orr, N., Wagstaffe, A., Briscoe, S., & Garside, R. (2016). How do older people describe their sensory experiences of the natural world? A systematic review of the qualitative evidence. BMC geriatrics, 16(1), 1-16.


Weir, K. (2020). Nurtured by nature. Psychological research is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition. American Psychological Association.


Wen, Y., Yan, Q., Pan, Y., Gu, X., & Liu, Y. (2019). Medical empirical research on forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku): A systematic review. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 24(1), 1-21.




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