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Why Seniors Retire to Utah and Colorado: The Health Benefits of Living in the Mountains

Retiring to the mountains is becoming more popular with seniors than ever. The classic “retire to the beach” dream is shifting, with so much new science showing that spending time in nature at higher altitudes may have tremendous health benefits. 

Cities like Denver and Salt Lake City are becoming more attractive to seniors looking to retire to someplace new as they discover the health benefits of living in the mountains.

two senior couples hugging their loved ones while hiking

First of All, Fresh Air

Large wooded areas in the mountains allow people to breathe less-polluted air. There’s less industry nearby, fewer vehicles racing past, and all those wonderful trees filtering the air. With all that, along with the lovely aromatics of the forest, you’ll be enjoying some nice deep breaths. 

Some studies show that breathing mountain air can lead to fewer instances of asthma and reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Incentive for Physical Activity

Everyone can agree that a mountain view is inspiring. And there are indications that this inspiration leads to actual results. People who see mountains every day are more likely to visit them regularly. They’re therefore walking more in nature and reaping the benefits of all that physical activity. 

People who spend more time outside get more exercise. Let’s face it. Walking in nature, surrounded by beautiful sights and smells, beats going to the gym or walking along a busy street every time. So people do it more. And more physical activity means better health. There’s evidence of lower rates of obesity, less risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure.

senior lady on a hike in the mountains

Nature Makes You Happier

Other improvements to your quality of life come from the mental health benefits of living in the mountains. Spending time in nature is shown to reduce your body’s production of stress hormones. The newly coined phrase “Nature Therapy” is becoming more widely used and accepted as legitimate science. Studies are indicating what has been long held true that experiencing the beauty of nature can help you find inner peace.

Something as simple as good smells has been shown to reduce stress. Also, your body produces chemicals during physical activity, like serotonin and dopamine. Both of these chemicals are known to make you feel emotionally good, alleviating stress. It’s a chemical antidepressant with no negative side effects!

Also, being away from crowds is shown to help boost your self-confidence as you tackle the challenges of your physical activity with strength, focus and independence. And when you’re tired from spending time in nature, and feeling good because of your reduced stress hormones, you get to enjoy yet another crucial health benefit of living in the mountains: rest. Being physically tired and mentally calm greatly increases your chances of good, restorative sleep. 

Short-Term Memory and Focus

With a calmer, happier mood and a good night’s rest, it makes sense that you might experience better mental focus. The cognitive benefits of exercise and a positive mental outlook are widely accepted. And recent studies suggest that spending time in nature specifically can increase your ability to focus and concentrate. 

One study showed that people who spent time in a nature setting and just relaxing scored better on concentration tests than others who spent the same time relaxing in an urban environment. The list of the health benefits of living in the mountains just goes on and on.

mountains and trees in Colorado

Retiring to Utah and Colorado

U.S. News & World Report ranked Utah and Colorado as among the top 10 places to retire in the U.S. Among the reasons for this were the many opportunities for physical activity, overall high-ranking physical and mental health of the people who live there, high daily quality of life, and overall life expectancy. 

Also, Salt Lake City and Denver are among the sunniest cities to live in, making them ideal for lots of outdoor activity. And with temperate seasonal temperatures, you don’t have to deal with the extreme heat of some sunny desert areas.

Are you considering retiring to a beautiful mountain state? Our communities in Utah and Colorado give you all the health benefits of living in the mountains and a wonderful place to call home. Contact us to learn more.