The cure to being cooped up inside? Green exercise!
Those parents among us certainly remember the days when we’d tell our children to “go outside and play.” Sure, it may have been for our own sanity, but it also had important mental and physical benefits for our kids that we could all use a bit more of, particularly after being sequestered indoors for so long thanks to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
While it’s easy to blame COVID-19, the fact is that 31.1% of adults worldwide were physically inactive long before the pandemic began, according to a 2012 report in The Lancet. And our lack of physical activity doesn’t just affect our muscular health. It has a profound effect on our mental health as well. That’s one reason you see so many articles about the benefits of exercise for seniors.
OK, so we all know we should be more active. Now what?
What is green exercise?
The term “green exercise” was coined in 2003 at the University of Essex. Quite simply, green exercise is any physical activity performed outside, particularly in natural green spaces such as parks, grasslands, forests, walking trails, or other areas where humans and nature can come together. And when we talk of exercise, it does not have to be jumping jacks, running, weightlifting, or anything particularly hardcore. The simple act of taking a walk, walking a dog, riding a bike, or even flying a kite or gardening can positively impact your mental and physical health.
What are some of the mental and physical health outcomes of green exercise?
Did you know research has shown that just viewing videos of nature scenes, seeing nature out your window, or having indoor plants and flowers can boost your mental and physical well-being?
If just looking at nature is good for you, think of what that means for the benefits of green exercise! In fact, exercising outside has proven to be more beneficial for you than similar indoor activities. Studies at the University of Essex showed increased immune function, lower blood pressure, more restful sleep, enhanced moods and even lower levels of perceived exertion. That’s right, the simple act of exercising outside makes you feel like you’re not really working out.
Other benefits of green exercise include:
- Increased stress relief
- Clearer thinking
- Improved attention and concentration
- Enhanced mood and more happiness
- Less anxiety
- Greater self-confidence
- More vitality
- More feelings of being refreshed
- Less fatigue for the same amount of physical exertion
- Improved quantity and quality of nighttime sleep
- Enhanced mindfulness or present-moment awareness
Where you live impacts how you live.
The importance of exercise for seniors simply can’t be overstated. If you’re looking for a lifestyle that provides positive physical, mental and spiritual support, Peace Village is a great place to live.
Our expansive 22-acre campus provides ample opportunities to enjoy the benefits of green exercise. Our walking paths are great for solo, group or even pet excursions. Our fishing lake offers hours of meditative alone time. And our garden or friendly corn hole competitions in the courtyard are a great way to exercise without even realizing you are.
To keep up with the latest from Peace Village, subscribe to our blog, Vantage Point. And if you’re thinking about moving to a senior living community, let us know. We’d be happy to provide a little green exercise by showing you around our campus.