Connect with us

Health & Wellness

Healthy Habits: Outdoor Activities to Keep Your Older Adult Feeling Spry



People take to aging differently. Some choose to embrace the tired feeling they’ve been feeling in their bones since they graduated college, retiring in a mostly sedentary fashion and watching Judge Judy, spending their twilight years turning their brains off and just enjoying life. Some people retaliate against old age, doing everything they can to keep themselves healthy so they can cross everything off their bucket list, going through a late-life crisis. It’s safe to say that we all fall somewhere on that spectrum as we age, whether we get to retire from our day jobs or still need to go to keep food on the table.

Unfortunately for those who were looking to spend their golden years relaxing in splendor, it’s also important to make sure that you get a good amount of exercise to stay healthy. As we get older, it becomes easier for us to injure ourselves if we fall, as well as for us to pick up any number of annoying and frightening health conditions; moreover, the loss of stamina and physical strength that is correlated with old age is most often the cause of inactivity, which most older adults find themselves drawn to as they age.

However, for older adults who stay active, their risk of developing any number of health conditions goes down (most specifically heart disease), and they stay stronger longer, picking up a number of other potentially useful benefits and maintaining their overall quality of life.

This is why most nursing facilities have an exercise schedule in place for their residents, as maintaining a good exercise schedule can be seen as a vital component of your older adults’ health. That is also why if nursing facilities do not follow through on that exercise schedule, leaving older adults inside all day, it can be seen as neglect, and neglect severe enough to warrant an experienced legal professional getting involved.

It’s important to make sure your older adult gets enough exercise, no matter the setting of their care, and spending time outside can also have a positive effect on their mental health. For your consideration, here are a few activities your older adult can do outside that will improve their physical and mental health.


You knew it was coming, but gardening is actually one of the best hobbies that older adults with mobility challenges can perform. In addition to being an activity they can do with minimal aid, it’s also an activity that gives them a lot of agency and responsibility: they can choose which types of plants they want to seed, are in charge of their feeding and watering schedule, and the positive mental health effect of seeing something they grew to start to sprout and flower cannot be denied. Even in colder months, the practice of gardening can be an excellent hobby for older adults who are struggling with their mental health, looking to be active and outdoors but not having the capability to run the pacer test anymore.


As opposed to its more energetic counterpart (running), walking allows older adults to take their own pace when seeking to spend time in the natural world, letting them get out of their rooms and easy chairs and exercise at a leisurely pace. If you’re in a nursing home, consider driving your charges to a nearby park and let them explore the place at their pace: an unfamiliar setting may be the perfect way for them to get out and enjoy their time outdoors. If you aren’t in a nursing home, you have total freedom in where you walk: go to a setting with an abundance of natural beauty, and you’ll find that the peaceful magic of the area works its way into your very bones as you partake in some light exercise.

Team Sports

Yes, team sports: though we aren’t talking about something like football, which gives people in their prime serious injuries. We’re talking sports like kickball, capture the flag, just things to get people outside and working in teams, as team games can build friendships and relationships among residents that are struggling with socialization or depression-related issues. Make sure the appropriate safety precautions are taken, however, as you want to make sure that these activities don’t leave anyone hurt.

Finding little things for you to do as an older adult outdoors can have a massive impact on your mental and physical health. Feel free to experiment with the suggestions above, as well as others, until you find what works for you.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.