The Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Short Term Rehab Patients

Photo of seniors on outdoor patio enjoying a chair stretch exercise

Outdoor activities can provide a variety of benefits for short term rehab patients during their recovery process. Nature can have a positive impact on physical and mental well-being, especially when someone is healing from surgery, illness, or injury at the Methodist Home.

The Importance of Physical Activity in Rehabilitation

Physical activity is a fundamental component of the rehabilitation process, playing a vital role in restoring health and function. Engaging in regular exercise and movement can promote healing, improve mobility, and enhance overall health. However, for short term rehab patients, maintaining an active lifestyle can present unique challenges. Factors such as limited mobility, pain, and the need for specialized care may make it difficult to participate in traditional forms of exercise.

By holding some therapy sessions outside instead of in our recently renovated rehabilitation center, patients have the opportunity to experience the rejuvenating benefits of nature while working towards their recovery goals. Outdoor activities provide an alternative and refreshing approach to therapy, offering a range of advantages that extend beyond physical healing into other areas like mental health, social connections, motivation, and a sense of independence. 

Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Short Term Rehab Patients

Engaging in outdoor exercises and movements allows patients to improve their cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and enhance overall physical fitness. Exposure to natural sunlight during outdoor activities provides vitamin D, which plays a crucial role in bone health and immune function. Sunlight exposure has been linked to improved mood and increased serotonin levels, which can positively impact the recovery journey.

The healing power of nature extends beyond physical benefits and also greatly influences the mental wellness of short term rehab patients. Engaging in outdoor activities allows individuals to step outside of the walls of the rehab center to experience a sense of freedom, tranquility, and connection with the natural world. The peaceful surroundings of nature, like those found in the outdoor garden areas at the Methodist Home, can help calm the mind and alleviate the emotional strain often associated with the recovery process. 

Outdoor activities create opportunities for social engagement and support. Participating in outdoor group activities or classes allows individuals to connect with others who may be going through similar experiences, which helps to foster a supportive community offering encouragement and understanding. These connections can have a positive impact on mental and emotional health while enhancing the overall rehabilitation experience.

Outdoor Activities Suitable for Short Term Rehab Patients

When it comes to outdoor activities for short term rehab patients, there is a wide range of options that cater to varying abilities and interests. Here are a few activities that can be particularly beneficial during the recovery process:

Walking promotes cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, and enhances overall mobility. During therapy sessions, our physical therapists help patients practice uphill, downhill, and other outdoor navigation. When appropriate for their individual care plan, patients are also encouraged to incorporate walks into their daily routines.

Gardening is a wonderful outdoor activity that combines physical movement, sensory stimulation, and a deep connection with nature. It offers numerous therapeutic benefits for patients, such as improved hand strength, coordination, and flexibility. Here at the Methodist Home, we have some raised garden beds where we plant vegetables and herbs in the spring. Everyone loves checking the progress of this group project, and of course – can’t wait to try one of the first ripe tomatoes of the season!

Group outdoor exercises can be highly motivating and enjoyable for patients. Activities such as stretching and other outdoor games offer a supportive environment where patients can engage in gentle movements, improve flexibility, and strengthen their bodies.

Precautions and Safety Measures

While outdoor activities can be immensely beneficial for short term rehab patients, it is important to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions. Each patient’s abilities and needs are different, and our interdisciplinary care team works closely with each to ensure the most effective, safest recovery journey. Some patients may require supervision or assistance during outdoor activities, and pushing too hard or attempting activities beyond one’s capabilities can lead to injuries or setbacks in the recovery process. 

When spending time outside, especially during the warmer months, it’s also important to maintain hydration, wear sun protection, monitor weather conditions, and be mindful of allergies or sensitivities.

We keep all of these factors in mind while discussing outdoor activity options with each of our patients.

Learn More About the Methodist Home

Outdoor activities offer numerous benefits for patients at The Methodist Home. Exposure to nature and sunlight can enhance physical health, improve mood, reduce stress, and increase social engagement. We proudly integrate a variety of outdoor activities into our therapy programs and our therapeutic activity calendars.

Contact us today to learn more about receiving short term care to support your healing journey at our five-star skilled nursing facility in Riverdale, New York.

What to Expect When Visiting Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation