The summer weather is finally here and the nation is flocking outside to get a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Coincidentally, it’s also National Picnic Month! So, now that you’ve got a fantastic excuse to make your way into the countryside for some picnic nibbles, you may be asking, are picnics good for your health? The answer is yes, and here’s why:
Something simple like eating your lunch ‘alfresco’ can make a big difference to your mood and eating outdoors can make positive physical changes to your body. It reduces your stress hormones and if done regularly can even boost your immune system!
“Eating outside – especially with family or friends – instantly impacts on our cortisol levels, a hormone which is higher in stressful situations. Too much of it puts us at risk of illness.
“High levels of inflammation – which can heighten the risk of cancer and other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes – could also decrease if alfresco dining is also done on a regular basis. General immunity could also increase.”
Everything’s better with friends! If you haven’t seen your children or grandchildren for a while, going for a picnic might be a good way to get everyone together. You get to relax safely in the open air and the young ones can run around to their heart’s content!
It’s well documented that socialising is good for you, but did you know that it can even help slow down cognitive decline? According to an article published by Age UK: Research suggests that having close ties to friends and family, and participating in meaningful social activities, may help people maintain their thinking skills better in later life and slow down cognitive decline.
The hills are alive with the sound of health benefits! Spending time in the great outdoors has tremendous health benefits, for example:
Some doctors are even handing out ‘nature prescriptions’ encouraging people to get outside to help treat issues such as:
Mental health is a huge part of your overall health. Exercise and eating a healthy diet are great, but you need to look after your mental health too! Going for a picnic in a quiet spot can be a great time to relax and indulge in some self-reflection.
An article by Psychology Today notes: The goal is not to judge your past choices, but to reflect on them, learn from them, and make whatever changes you feel are appropriate for you in the here and now. As you build new habits through self-awareness, you can become more balanced, healthy, and happy.
Your picnic needn’t involve running a marathon. Simply walking through the park to your perfect spot can be enough to get your body’s metabolism fired up. Staying active as you get older can be a bit more difficult, but it’s really important to do what you can.
According to Alzheimers.org, there is some evidence to show older people can reduce their risk of dementia and Alzheimers with regular exercise. A review found 27 studies looking at the effect of physical activity on brain function in people over 60 years of age. In 26 of the studies there was a clear link between physical activity levels and cognitive performance, suggesting that exercise might be an effective way to reduce cognitive decline in later life.
There you have it, we’ve armed you with all of the reasons you need to get out and have a picnic with friends, family, carers, even your neighbours! Radfield Home Care offers a range of services for care and support; that can assist you on your quest for the perfect picnic. Whether it’s just the company of a care professional, a helping hand with walking, preparing food or driving you to your destination, we can help. See our full list of services here.
Get in touch with your local Radfield Home Care office today and find out more about the support we offer and the difference we can make.