June is Great Outdoors Month, and with all the sunny weather the UK has seen this spring, there’s never been a better time to get out and get some fresh air.
Venturing outside doesn’t mean you need to go far, as research has often proven gardening can help to lift moods and aid mental health. Here, we discuss how spending time outside can help improve your wellbeing and share our tips for ensuring getting outside is manageable in older age.
It gives you a purpose
If since retiring you feel you lack purpose, it can be disheartening and dissatisfying sitting at home with little to do. Getting outside can be a hobby – if you’ve always wanted to work on your fitness, building up to longer walks or tending to plants and flowers can help to give you a focus. Why not take inspiration from the recent RHS Chelsea Flower Show and see what beautiful blooms you can recreate?
How to make it easier: If you are less mobile, it can seem like a real effort to get outside each day. Buying some plants that require watering can give you an incentive to get outside during Great Outdoors Month and beyond. If you like companionship and have time for the commitment, a dog can be a great long term push to leave the house more often. If you can’t afford the time and money they require, consider walking a neighbour’s dog, or look at websites like borrow my doggy. Even more simple is to make a habit of walking to a local store if you can to get a newspaper or groceries.
Sunlight helps increase vitamin D levels
Many people take vitamin D supplements due to deficiency during the winter months, but in summer you can save your money and venture outside for some natural sunlight. Vitamin D offers a number of health benefits including helping to keep bones healthy, which is why it is especially important as we age.
How to make it easier: If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable during warmer weather, be sure to go outside during the cooler times of the day, including early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Ensuring you wear plenty of high factor SPF and drinking plenty of water while outside is also important, even if it doesn’t feel too hot.
When many of us think of exercise, we think of running or going to the gym. Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous to be beneficial though. If you’ve had health issues or you’re not particularly mobile, building up to a brisk walk with a stroll around your garden or down the street this Great Outdoors Month is much more manageable.
How to make it easier: If you feel uneasy about walking outside due to falls, or you’re prone to wandering to unfamiliar locations, consider how a falls detector or a GPS tracker could help you to feel more confident while out. These devices can help to ensure trusted support is easily accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
It’s mood lifting
Getting outside among plants and greenery has been proven to reduce stress and mental health. If you don’t often get out of the house nor have much human interaction, it can also offer the opportunity to socialise with neighbours or friendly dog walkers en route. Remember, it’s wise to take a mobile phone out with you in case of emergencies or if you feel uncomfortable with any situations while out.
How to make it easier: Get some company. Perhaps you have a friend who lives close by, or a carer or family member visits during the week. If so, you may want to consider using that time to venture outdoors. Not only will the company provide a distraction if you initially find it challenging, but it can also help you feel at ease if you need support with walking. Organising a picnic if the weather is expected to be warm all day can also be a nice way to get outdoors this Great Outdoors Month without needing to be on your feet for too long.
To find out about how lifeline support can aid getting outdoors this Great Outdoors Month and beyond, please contact us here.