Elderly Care: 9 Health Benefits of a Simple Walk in the Park
A regular walk in the park has many physiological health benefits that remain with us long term. It doesn’t matter how old, how fit or how healthy you are right at this moment, you will benefit from a gentle walk in the park amongst the trees and birds. At Home Nursing Solutions we encourage our clients to have time in nature as part of their elderly care plan.
In this article we will outline some of the health benefits that walking in nature provides.
Recently, aged care facilities in Melbourne have begun studying how greenery – trees and gardens - have the ability to protect their elderly care residents against the onset of dementia, depression and anxiety. The results of this study will provide the feedback that we all know to be true, that nature, plants and trees do indeed have a beneficial and healing effect on both young and old.
Feelings and emotions have a physiological effect
Most of us would agree that nature has a healing effect on our senses. In nature we feel a sense of expansion because we can cast our eyes over a longer distance. Plants are alive, so we feel a connection to something living and breathing. They are beautiful to look at, so we feel a sense of appreciation.
These are feelings and emotions that appear on the surface of our psyche that we can immediately sense and feel, but the impact of these goes much deeper to create physiological changes in our bodies for wellbeing.
There are many studies that have been done and continue to be done that link wellbeing to nature, health and elderly care. Here is a summary of some of them.
9 reasons to spend more time outdoors as part of your weekly wellbeing regime:
- Improved short-term memory by 20% - a study has shown that people who walked amongst the trees as opposed to inside an urban building environment, had 20% better memory.
- Restored mental energy – just by looking at pictures of nature our mental energy can be restored let alone actually going out into nature which has even more impact. Natural beauty elicits feelings of gratitude which boost our overall wellbeing.
- Reduced inflammation – inflammation is our body’s response to general day to day wear and tear but if it goes into overdrive, it can have serious detrimental effects to our health and wellbeing such as auto-immune diseases, cancer, bowel problems, depression and more. In one particular study, elderly care patients who had been sent into the forest for a week showed reduced signs of inflammation as well as reduced hypertension.
- Better vision – being able to cast your eyes wider and longer over a natural expanse exercises the muscles and helps to improve your long range vision. Being indoors so that your eyes are only ever looking at things within your surrounds has been shown to increase the incidence of myopia (short-sightedness).
- Improved concentration – a walk in the park helps reduce tension and anxiety, this leads to being able to focus better when you are reading or working through your daily chores.
- Boost immune system – even though there is more research going on in this area, a walk in the park reduces inflammation and boosts your immune system so that common colds and other ailments are fought off more effectively.
- Improved mental health - greenery and nature is a proven antidote to anxiety and low moods in elderly care, so it goes without saying that by having more nature time, you are looking after your mental health.
- Reduced risk of early death – studies have shown a strong connection between living in an environment with nature and green spaces and a longer, healthier life.
- Reduced onset of dementia – walking in nature has been linked to reducing the onset of dementia in elderly care clients and there are already initiatives to encourage elderly people to get out and about in nature.
At Home Nursing Solutions we encourage healthy ageing that leads to better wellbeing and a happier, longer life. Our commitment to you is that you stay at home for as long as you can, with a bit of support from our home care services. Call us today on 08 8331 3791 to discuss your home care needs.
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