Spring is in the air! A new season is a great time to start a new hobby or pick up an old favorite. Hobbies, especially for seniors and retirees, provide an important source of activity, socialization, and enjoyment that improve quality of life and also have lasting benefits on mobility and cognitive function.
Looking to get outdoors with your friends and family this spring? Try one of these six outdoor activities.
Hiking is popular past time, however, as we get older, a long hike can be especially taxing on our bodies, and uneven and inclined paths can be dangerous. But you can still get a healthy dose of nature and exercise with trail walking.
There are plenty of well-kept and paved trails in the Midwest, from local parks to county, state, and national trails that are perfect for exploring with your friends and family. Or, take some time for yourself and enjoy a walk alone to experience the sounds and sights of nature.
Gardening is a fun way to get hands-on with nature, and spring is a great season for planting. Traditional gardening can be physically demanding, but container gardening is a less intensive way to grow all kinds of plants. From tiny succulents in your window sill to large planters on your patio, you can still enjoy gardening as a senior.
If you’re an experienced gardener, try growing plants from seeds for a bit of an extra challenge. Or if you like to cook, try growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs for fresh ingredients to add to your meals.
Spring is a great time to get into birdwatching as different kinds of birds migrate back north for the warmer months. Grab your binoculars and search the trees of your backyard, or head out to a local park or wildlife preserve to find even more birds. Birdwatching is a fun way to see your favorite outdoor places in a new way or find new ones to explore.
Connect with an area birdwatching group and make some new friends, or take the grandkids out to get them excited about nature. You’ll be surprised by all the kinds of birds and wildlife you can find in your neighborhood!
Landscape Painting or Drawing
If you’re more of a creative type, you could try out landscape painting and drawing this spring. Spring is a fun season for painting because of all the blooming flowers and abundant wildlife. You’ll have plenty of bright colors to play with!
You can set up an easel in your backyard or take a sketchbook to your local park. If you’re a beginner, local community centers often offer art classes to get a hang of the basics and connect with other budding artists.
If you’re looking for something to get your heart pumping, pickleball is a great sport for seniors. Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and table tennis. This game is played with two to four players and uses the dimensions of a badminton court, a large paddle similar to a table tennis paddle, and a ball a little smaller than a wiffle ball.
This sport is great for seniors because the smaller court and closer play style is less impactful on the body than traditional tennis. And you can still get great cardiovascular activity from playing pickleball!
Outdoor Yoga or Tai Chi
Yoga and tai chi are great exercises for building core strength, balance, and flexibility. You can do these workouts any time of year, but spring is a great time to join a class or get a group of friends to practice outside.
Plenty of yoga and tai chi flows are designed for relaxation, so practicing outside can add an extra element of relaxation. The color green is thought to relieve stress, and sunshine and fresh air can feel rejuvenating, especially after winter.
Precautions for Outdoor Activity
Spring is a great time for getting outside to exercise or just to shake off some lingering winter blues, but seniors should take a few extra precautions when planning outdoor activities:
- Always wear and reapply sunscreen throughout the day to avoid sunburn
- Bring a bottle of water to stay hydrated
- Make sure your cell phone or smartphone is fully charged before you leave
If you’re going out alone, call or text someone you trust where you’ll be and how long you plan to be there. This could be an adult child, a friend, or a neighbor. This way, in case of an emergency, someone knows where you are.
Springtime is often associated with new beginnings, and it’s never too late to start something new! Take this spring as an opportunity to try a new hobby, learn a new skill, or make new friends.