Did you know there’s a magic cure that can boost your mood, lower the need for pain medication, provide your daily dose of vitamin D, strengthen your relationships, improve your sleep and more? This remedy doesn’t come in a pill or potion, but it’s free and abundantly available. You get it by lacing up your shoes, opening the door and heading outside.

Seniors can benefit in multiple ways from spending time in nature, as AARP notes. Whether you’re living in your long-time home, a downsized condo or a retirement community in Massachusetts, you can improve your health in a number of ways by getting out into the great outdoors.

1. Lift your Spirits
A recent study from the University of Michigan found a link between group nature walks and significantly reduced levels of depression, along with a lowered perception of stress and better mental health and well-being. Smelling the fresh-cut grass, seeing the vivid colors, breathing fresh air and feeling the sunshine on your face simply makes most people feel happier.

2. Improve your Sleep
When you’re outdoors, you’re more likely to be exercising. And when you exercise, research has found, you sleep better and more restfully. As a result, you’re more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed the next day, ready to engage in any number of vitality-promoting activities.

3. Strengthen your Immune Function
Research has found that being outdoors increases your count of white blood cells, and the effect can stretch over several days. One study found that women who spent several hours in a forest over two days showed an increase in white blood cells that lasted for a week.

4. Keep your Vitamin D Levels Healthy
Research indicates that vitamin D — known as the “sunshine vitamin” — may help protect against osteoporosis, heart disease and some types of cancer. Supplements work, but isn’t spending time out in the actual sunshine more enjoyable?

5. Give your Energy a Jolt
Anyone who spends time outside knows that connecting with nature makes you feel more alive, and research backs up that good vibe. Being outdoors provides you with greater feelings of vitality and makes you more resistant to illnesses. A number of studies have identified a link between time spent in nature and greater energy.

6. Boost Overall Health
Patients recovering from surgery may get well more quickly, experience less pain and spend less time in the hospital when they’re exposed to natural light, research has found. Breathing fresh air also can benefit your health, and many pulmonologists recommend short walks to ward off osteoporosis and vitamin D deficiency in pulmonary patients.

7. Enhance Relationships
Getting outdoors is a wonderful way to interact socially with other people, whether through participating on a recreational sports team or spending time with friends and loved ones.

Seniors benefit from spending time outdoors in so many ways, from boosting overall health to sleeping better, improving mood and engaging with other people. As you consider retirement communities in Massachusetts, be sure to take a look at availability of outdoor spaces. At The Overlook, you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air on our many beautiful trails for walking and cross-country skiing. Contact us today to schedule your personal tour.

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