Outside edge: the many benefits of spending time outdoors

‘Get out in the fresh air, it will do you good!’ is advice that has been doled out since time immemorial.  But did you know that, as well as being accepted wisdom, the benefits of time spent outdoors have been backed up by an enormous body of scientific evidence?  Study after study has proved the benefits of time spent outdoors.  Taking a walk in natural surroundings is so beneficial it might soon be prescribed by doctors as a ‘nature cure’ for depression and other mental health issues. 

The English Garden at Lynwood, overlooking the woodland at the back of the village.

There are significant physical and mental health benefits to be gained by spending time outside.  A brisk walk outside gives you a blast of fresh air that wakes you up, stops you feeling sluggish and helps keep you fit. Spending time in natural surroundings is strongly linked to lowered depression and stress levels and is known to boost levels of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter, and increase levels of vitamin D, which is particularly important for bone health in older people.  Spending time in the fresh air can also increase levels of white blood cells, which fight infection and disease.  One study found that people aged 70 and over who spend time outside daily, report fewer sleep problems, less pain and less decline in their ability to carry out activities of daily living.  Other benefits of spending time outdoors include greater self-esteem (you feel better about yourself), elevated mood and improved concentration.  In other words, if you could put all the benefits of spending time outside into a pill, you’d have hit the health and wellbeing jackpot.

But, what happens when accessing natural environments is no longer as easy as sticking on your wellies and heading off for a walk?  How do you still enjoy all these amazing benefits if you have mobility issues, health problems that make it difficult to get out, or you’ve lost the confidence to head out into nature on your own?  This is why it’s so important to live somewhere that provides easy access to outside space, and why the people designing environments for our later years need to make it a top priority. 

At Lynwood Village, every property has its own balcony, private garden or roof terrace.  Some balconies overlook our ancient woodland so you can benefit from natural surroundings without even leaving your beautifully designed apartment.  Otherwise, you can take a stroll (or a roll if you’re in a wheelchair or mobility scooter) along the level paths that wind through our woods, joining a group walk if you don’t feel confident enough to head out on your own, and enjoy the plants, trees and wildlife as you meander along.  If you’d like a more sedate moment outside, you can sit back and enjoy the stunning English garden, with its beautiful formal planting that can be enjoyed all year round.  If you want some exercise in the fresh air, the croquet lawn and outdoor bowling green are right on your doorstep and it’s usually easy to find people to play with. 

Some Lynwood owners create a lush paradise on their private balconies.

While one of the many benefits of living at Lynwood Village is that someone else does the gardening, there are areas where owners can plant flowers or vegetables and a gardening club for the more green-fingered.  Failing that, you would be amazed at what can be achieved on balconies with pots!

We are blessed with beautiful natural surroundings right on our doorstep here at Lynwood Village, so it’s easy to enjoy the many benefits of spending time in the great outdoors without even leaving the village.  If you’re considering a move to somewhere that’s easier to live in your later years, make sure outside space is on your priority list.