Showing posts with label Forest Bathing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Forest Bathing. Show all posts

3 Interesting Outdoor Activities for Seniors: Live Longer Live Healthier

3 Interesting Outdoor Activities for Seniors: Live Longer Live Healthier

                             The elderly have different needs than other age groups. They may be having knee problems due to aging and osteoarthritis which can limit their activities. The elderly can have other problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.

                               The activities need to be gentler and low impact. As you age, bones become fragile and joints become stiff. Osteoporosis can occur especially in females after the age of menopause. Apart from routine activities, they may get tired and bored easily.

                                   As children grow up and leave the house for higher education and jobs many elders are left alone. This leads to what is popularly known as Empty Nest Syndrome. This can leave many seniors depressed and isolated. At this age it is very important to stay fit and independent.This can be achieved by staying active. They can get out of the house and do some outdoor activities.

                                          Here are 3 Interesting Activities for the Elderly.

Beach Walking

                                             It’s a great way to improve your endurance and strength. Beach walking is an enjoyable way to spend time outdoors. Extra resistance from the sand burns more calories. It takes 2-2.5 times more energy to walk on sand than it does to move at the same speed on the road. The sound and visuals of the ocean relax the mind. As you reach the beach almost immediately, serotonin is released which makes you happier and relaxed. The Elderly are more prone to depression and loneliness. They definitely will feel rejuvenated after the walk. The wet sand is good for the feet. It acts as an exfoliating agent. It removes dead skin and makes feet softer.

                                            If you do not live near a beach, then also you needn't worry. You can walk near the river bank or a lake or in a garden on the soft grass. Walking is good exercise for the heart. It's a great Cardio workout. It’s gentle and less demanding than running. You can walk to a nearby park.Elderly couple walking in a garden.

Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku

                                         Shinrin Yoku is a Japanese term which means Forest bathing. There is no rigid definition of Forest Bathing. In simple terms, it means being in the presence of trees and nature in a forest. Elderly people can travel to nearby forest zones and be with nature. The high oxygen-rich environment is good for people with respiratory ailments. Forest bathing does not mean to go for long treks or hiking. It just means walking aimlessly in the forest area. 

                                          You can let loose your five senses. You can see and enjoy the greenery of the forest. You can smell the flowers and listen to the sounds of birds and animals. The gentle breeze blowing through the jungle can have a soothing effect on the brain. Trees are also living beings. Some trees can be of the age of 200-300 years. You can rest under the shade of a tree and relax. The trees release substances to protect themselves from bacteria and other pathogens. These are known as Phytoncides. Elderly People with skin and respiratory allergies can benefit from them. These phytoncides are the basis of aromatherapy.

                                             Bird watching can be combined with forest bathing which can have additional benefits. Those interested in outdoor photography can also use the hobby to make the journey more enjoyable.

Outdoor Tai chi Or Yoga

                                        Tai Chi is described as “meditation in motion”. There is growing evidence that Tai Chi, a mind-body practice that originated as a martial art, has value in preventing and treating many diseases and ailments. It’s especially useful for the elderly because of its slow and gentle movements. It improves your balance and posture. It can prevent falls which are common in the elderly. Many seniors have vertigo and balancing problems. While doing these exercises you need not tense your muscles. These are slow and circular movements. They are not harsh for the joints either. Tai Chi can be done in a nearby garden. 

                                      Understanding the Yin Yang principle in Tai-Chi helps you relax. Tension is Yang, Relaxation is YIn. Everything in our lives has a polar opposite. The night gives way to a new day. Summer ends and winter begins. You tend to get angry with the people whom you love the most. Nothing in life is static. We are in a constant flux. It's the balance that is needed. Seniors can particularly benefit from this practice.

                                       Yoga is at least a 2000 years old art form that originated from India. It improves body flexibility. It involves different postures and breathing exercises. Yoga improves balance and muscle tone. Different yoga postures can benefit chronic muscle aches and joint pains. Different postures are to be maintained for a few seconds. They are known as Asanas. For example, Bhujangasana can be useful for chronic back pain from which many elderly suffer. It should be learned by certified trainers. It should be learned slowly and gently. Never push your body too hard.

                                          Breathing exercises are good for calming the brain. Meditation is part of Yoga. Meditation is good for all age groups, especially seniors.

Author: Dr.Nishikant Sharma MD FACP

Dr.Nishikant Sharma MD FACP (US)

Specialist Internal Medicine

Believes in Preventive Medicine & Quality Treatment For all at Affordable cost. He is a Medical Writer & Content Creator.

Diabetes & Heart Clinic



Forest Bathing: 3 Awesome Benefits

Forest Bathing : 3 Awesome Benefits

 Forest Bathing (Shinrin Yoku)

                                         There is no particular definition of Forest bathing. This is also known as Shinrin Yoku in the Japanese Language. Dr. Quing Li wrote a popular book on Forest Bathing. It has become popular in the 1980s onwards. Japanese practice this frequently. We all know the life expectancy of the average Japanese is high. Japanese people live healthy and long lives. You can find active old people in Japan unlike in other countries. People in Japan live and work up to 90-100 years and beyond. There is an island in Japan known as Okinawa where the largest number of people above 100 is found.
                                        Forest bathing means being in the presence of trees. Shinrin means Forest and Yoku means bath. It does not mean hiking or jogging. Though you can definitely trek through the forest with added benefits. It is simply being in nature. You can connect with nature through your senses. The sense of hearing can help us to listen to the sounds in the forest. The sounds of birds singing and occasional shrieks of monkeys or deers can have a soothing effect on your mind. The sense of smell can enable you to smell the flowers in the forest. The smell of soil connects you with mother nature. The sense of sight of course enables you to see the lush greenery which can have a soothing effect on your mind and soul. The sun shining between the trees also has a loving effect. It calms your mind and nerves.
                                        Increasing urbanization is causing people all over the world to move towards cities away from villages. About 60-70% of the population is now living in urban or semi-urban areas. Even in cities, people are spending 80-90% of their time indoors either in the office or at home. This has caused a disconnect between nature and us.
                                     Sprawling concrete jungles have come up with big shopping centers and malls. New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Mumbai, Mexico City New Delhi are some of the many examples. Many cities do have decent parks in the city like The Central Park in Manhattan New York or Botanical garden in Singapore but many others have no such open spaces. In developing nations the urbanization is chaotic at best. Parks are overcrowded most of the time and may not be the best place for forest bathing. People with dogs and shouting children can be distracting

   What are the 3 Major benefits of Forest bathing?
    Green Forest
    Lush Green Forest

  • It is an Oxygen rich environment. Plants absorb CO2 and release Oxygen. Human beings need oxygen. We inhale oxygen and exhale CO2. People with Bronchial Asthma and other respiratory ailments can breathe easy. Forests are away from the city and are less polluted. Less pollution and high levels of oxygen are beneficial for people with allergic respiratory diseases. tress live long lives. Some trees can live for 200- 300 years. Trees secrete Phytoncides to protect themselves from infections. They are the basis of Aromatherapy. Phytoncides protect trees from viral and other infections. Please don't forget trees are living organisms. You can hug the trees and sit under their shade for a while. It helps in improving your immunity.

  • Walking Through a Forest
    Tropical Forest 

  • Mind-body Medicine. Forest Bathing helps you to calm your mind. As you enter the forest your heart rate starts to drop and blood pressure starts decreasing. The mind becomes relaxed. This has a positive effect on your body as well. Our mind and body are both connected. Trekking through the forest can be of an added benefit for diabetes as it consumes calories. It will decrease the blood sugar levels also. It has been found that patients who have rooms facing gardens recover faster from their diseases. Walking through the jungle is a good exercise. It burns calories and keeps you fit and healthy. It is gentle on your knees also.

  • Increased Creativity. To get the most of the Forest Bathing you should leave your smartphone and camera at home. You can walk through the place aimlessly. Unlocking power is in your five senses. Feel the breeze rustling through the trees and listen to the birds as they sing a song for you. You can sit near some water stream with your feet in the flowing water. Or You can walk bare feet on the grass. All this helps in unlocking your creativity. In the cities, you can not focus as you are multitasking almost always. This is a type of mindfulness exercise that unlocks your creativity. Creativity leads to increased productivity.

Author: Dr. Nishikant Sharma MD FACP (USA)
              He is a Health Care Professional.
              He is a specialist in Internal Medicine.
              He believes in Preventive Aspects of Diseases.
              He is a Medical Writer and Content Creator.
              He has done a Content Writing Course From the University Of California Davis.

 AuthorPic of Dr Nishikant Sharma MD,

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