Seniors: Head outside to improve your health says study

nature and agingWe’re sure you’ve heard the phrase, “stop and smell the roses.” Well if you’re a senior, you should take this advice literally says a study from the University of Minnesota.

Researchers found by implementing more nature-inspired spaces – a koi pond or flower beds – in urban dwellings, health among seniors was boosted. Nature settings – those consisting of plenty of green and blue – promote feelings of renewal and spiritual connectedness they said.


“We zoomed in to everyday life for seniors between the ages of 65 and 86,” said lead author of the paper, Jessica Finlay.

“We discovered how a relatively mundane experience, such as hearing the sound of water or a bee buzzing among flowers, can have a tremendous impact on overall health.”

Researchers noted the seniors in the study used nature environments to stay active, connect spiritually and be social. This helped many participants improve their health whether they had a chronic illness or a disability.

Besides nature as a means of promoting healthier aging, Finlay offered three other suggestions as well in her findings:


1. Focus on your overall wellbeing: Mental and social health are just as important as physical health when aging
2. Get out the door regularly – strolling down your block is a good start
3. Prioritize everyday contact with nature – whether it’s sitting outdoors, listening to running water, watching animals etc.

The findings were published in the journal Health and Place.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.