As you grow older, you may begin to feel as though the confidence and independence that you once had has been lost and although you previously may have been happy engaging in physical activity outdoors, this is now met with feelings of trepidation. As a result of this, isolation can become a common theme amongst older people, with a lack of socialisation taking place due to not wanting to leave the comfort of their home. This is especially true during autumn and winter, where people become more inclined to spend time inside.
During this time of the year, the daylight hours become shortened and the temperature drops, it can be easier than ever to find an excuse to not to leave your home. However, there are a variety of health benefits that come from getting outside. Not only does fresh air boost your serotonin levels, making you happier, but it is also good for lowering your blood pressure and heart rate, which can improve your overall health.
“It is important that older people remain as active as possible throughout the year. Autumn is a great time to keep active outdoors when the weather is not yet cold or icy and there is so much out there to enjoy in the landscape with autumn colours,” Catharine from the I’DGO project and Mobility, Mood and Place project tells us. Below, discover some fun activities to help encourage you to go outside this autumn.
“Walking is a great way to keep active if you are able to walk at all – even short walks can make a difference to your health. Even if you are a wheelchair user, it’s important to enjoy the autumn sunshine when it comes, so visit your local park and see the leaves changing colour, the wildlife stocking up on food before winter,” says Catharine. “As it gets a bit cooler, it’s important to wrap up well, especially if it’s windy. But weather forecasts can help you plan when is a good day and time to be out and avoid the worst of the wind or rain. Leaves can be slippery if wet, so take extra care if you are walking on wet leaves.”
Living a sedentary lifestyle comes with a host of issues, such as an inability to walk up a set of stairs and therefore needing to invest in a home stairlift to help. However, walking is one of the easiest ways to introduce exercise in order to prevent this. Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise, but it is often overlooked as it is not deemed to be a strenuous activity. Despite this misconception, a study at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory has proven that so long as you burn the same number of calories, it is as effective as running at improving your cardiovascular health. In addition, not only does walking help to strengthen the muscles and allow you to maintain a healthy weight, but it also can lower your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, strokes and diabetes, all common ailments in older people.
For many, their gardens are their passion project. Carefully cultivating a variety of different plants in order to create a beautiful patchwork of colour can give a person immense pride. However, once the warm weather becomes a distant memory, and we’re awoken with a dewy frost rather than a warm blanket of sunshine, your plants will begin to look lacklustre and lose their charm.
Despite the cold weather, there is still a host of things that you can do in your garden to prepare it for the next summer. With rain showers keeping the ground moist and the temperature not dropping too low, now is the perfect time to rehome plants in different locations, as well as plant roses and other species that take a little bit longer to find their place in your garden.
If you’re wanting new plants to spring to life next year, then buying bulbs to plant during autumn is the perfect answer to this. Another reason to get out in your garden over the course of autumn is to ensure the longevity of your hedges, as any leaves left on them over the colder months will result in rot and decay, meaning that, come spring, you will have to remove it entirely.
There are several points throughout the year that are perfect for birdwatching, with the autumn being one of them. As the summer crops have been used up and the temperature begins to fall, the migrant birds will need to start looking for new places to travel to. The key to birdwatching through this time is to be patient; often it is not as obvious as it is in spring that birds are migrating, as there is no sense of urgency for them to breed at this time too. Despite this, there are still some amazing species that you can witness soaring through the sky during this time.
An activity like birdwatching is perfect for older people. As it is not exercise, it is great for those with varying levels of mobility. If you’re looking to do this for a couple of hours, a folding camping chair can keep you comfortable, with binoculars useful for those birds that are slightly further away. Something to keep in mind when you’re outside and remaining stationary is that you can get cold quickly, so wrapping up warm in suitable clothing is essential.
Tiffany from Barchester Healthcare, one of the UK’s largest care providers supporting older people and those with mental health conditions to live independent lives with dignity and respect, tells us that Yoga is a popular activity in Barchester care homes. “One of the most accessible activities for all ages, the relaxing stretches have many health benefits. It encourages better breathing, circulation, joint health and flexibility, as well as reducing stress and anxiety. Yoga can also improve an individual's balance and stability. This doesn't just reduce the risk of them falling and hurting themselves but can also increase their confidence and security when it comes to getting out and about.”
Yoga can be beneficial for older people as it can be done both inside and outside, meaning that you can practise inside before attempting this at a quiet location, such as a park or a beach. Yoga is great during autumn as it’s not too cold, so you can still reap the benefits of the fresh air without finding it too difficult due to layers of warm clothing!
To roundup, we’ve created a list of the best outdoor activities for older people to enjoy this autumn below:
This news article is from Companion Stairlifts. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only