Heading into the great outdoors isn't just a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. There's a strong link between spending time outdoors and mental health benefits.
As we age, staying active in retirement and spending time outdoors can increase feelings of happiness and well-being, no matter how you choose to enjoy yourself in nature. Heading outdoors can also help lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol. Spending quality time in nature can even boost your vitamin D levels, which can help older adults fight illness and disease.
Whether you live by the mountains or the sea (or somewhere in between), there are myriad ways to get outdoors during the year. Try one of these activities, or mix and match a combination of your favorites. However you spend time outside, you'll reap the mood-boosting benefits of the fresh air.
Go for a Walk
Join a local hiking group or lace up your walking shoes for a regular walk with friends. Hiking and walking are great ways to uncover hidden gems in your community and stay physically active in retirement — no gym membership required.
Tend to Your Garden
For many people, gardening is a rewarding pastime. Pruning perennials or growing vegetables can also be an excellent way to integrate outdoor time into your routine. No green space at home? Find a plot in a community garden.
Go Bird- or Butterfly-Watching
Pick up a pair of binoculars and learn about the fauna that lives in your area. You can enjoy this outdoor activity by yourself or with a group of local nature lovers.
Enjoy Outdoor Entertainment
Take advantage of the open-air activities and events in your community, such as farmer's markets, concerts and festivals. They're a great way to get on your feet and get social on a beautiful day.
Take an Outdoor Class
Who says yoga only happens in a studio? Grab your mat and sign up for an outdoor yoga class. Or enroll in an art class, like outdoor landscape painting or sketching. If you don't see a class that catches your interest, take your favorite activities, like journaling or puzzling, into the park or your own backyard.
Harnessing Time Outdoors and Mental Health Benefits
Enjoying time in nature is a simple, accessible way to boost your happiness, reduce stress and prioritize staying active in retirement. Next time you need a mental pick-me-up, lace up your shoes, head outside and let the fresh air work its magic.