The Bristal Assisted Living Blog

Posted by The Bristal  |

Can Spending Time Outdoors Reduce Your Risk of Dementia?

Do you relish time spent outdoors, especially on those mildly warm days where the sunshine lifts your spirits and the sounds of nature bring you a sense of peace? According to a recent study, spending time outdoors in nature has an added benefit — it can lower your risk of hospitalization for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other types of dementias. 

This blog from The Bristal Assisted Living shares details of the study’s findings in addition to other benefits of spending time outdoors as we age.

A Study of Nature and Neurological Disorders

The large study included nearly 62 million Medicare beneficiaries. Data from the study showed that older adults living in a community with more green space had a lower rate of hospitalization for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive conditions like vascular or Lewy body dementia.  

Older adults living near bodies of water, also referred to as blue space, were associated with fewer hospitalizations for individuals living with Parkinson’s — but not for Alzheimer’s or other memory-related cognitive disorders.

How Does Nature Reduce Your Risk? 

There aren’t any definitive answers as to why nature can help reduce your risk for these types of cognitive impairment; however, there are common theories about correlations between the two.

Here are other benefits of spending time outdoors as we age and their possible connections to delaying or reducing your risk of cognitive decline.

  • Chronic stress has been linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and spending time in nature has been shown to decrease stress.
  • Green spaces, like parks and forests, can encourage physical activity. Regular exercise may help delay symptoms or reduce your risk for cognitive decline or Parkinson’s.
  • Outdoor activities can promote opportunities for socialization. Social isolation and loneliness can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s. 
  • Air pollution and noise levels tend to be lower in environments with more green space. Research has shown that air pollution can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. 
  • Spending time outside can help improve your overall well-being, including improved cognitive function, blood pressure, mental health, and sleep. 

The Bristal Assisted Living communities promote healthy lifestyles through an engaging wellness program that includes time spent outdoors for walking, exercising, socializing, special events, and more. 

Gets Tips on How to Spend More Time Outdoors

Find ways to spend more time outdoors in our blogs on hiking tips and trails, state parks on Long Island, and outdoor walking tips for seniors


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