After a long winter indoors the sunshine and longer days are a treat! We all feel bright and cheery when the sun is shining and that's because pleasant weather improves mood. Studies have shown that "being outside in pleasant weather really offers a way to reset your mindset." People who spent 30 minutes outside on a sunny day improved their mental health and mood! It's time to go back outside to enjoy the warm weather safely.
Here are 4 outdoor activities to try this spring!
1. Get to gardening
This is the perfect time to get your garden summer ready! You can clean up the yard and start planting beautiful flowers like daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, or violas. If flowers aren't your thing, you can get an early start on your vegetable garden and plant tomatoes, carrots, onions, and much more. For older adults where mobility is a challenge bring gardening indoors with indoor planters and pots. Try repotting an easy-care plant such as a cactus or succulent. You can enjoy gardening safely inside!
2. Go on a walk
You can cure the winter blues by going on a daily walk in the spring! Walking outside has shown to increase creativity, reduce stress, and improve concentration. When you're walking outside, you're enjoying what mother nature has to offer - the sunshine, the birds singing, the green grass and the budding flowers. There are beautiful parks and trails in the Waterloo region! You can head to Waterloo Park, Victoria Park, or the Walter Bean trail to enjoy the fresh air. Local parks are a great option for older adults because they have paved paths for walking assistive devices.
3. Play an outdoor game
As we get older, we lose the art and joy of play - especially playing outside. In our hectic lives, we should take time to play because it offers relaxation, stimulation, fuels our imagination, improves problem-solving abilities and emotional well-being. Play could be sharing jokes, throwing a ball around, blowing bubbles, or a fun yard game, like ring toss. It's easy to play outside! Whatever game you like to play inside - take it outside! If your elderly loved one likes playing card games, play outside on a comfortable picnic bench.
4. Bird watching
If you're looking for a new hobby, you should consider bird watching. You can learn more about birds and also practice the art of slowing down. When birding, you're task involves waiting patiently and still for the birds to appear. It contrasts our hectic daily lives of being on the go!
As the birds return for spring, you can head to bird-watching areas to be surrounded by nature. A great local birding spot is the Grand River. They have "hot spot" recommendations listed on their website. Bird watching can be also done in the comforts of your backyard or local park. At home, you and your elderly loved one can set up a bird feeder and watch the birds, or you can sit on a bench at the park to watch the birds.
From birding to gardening and everything in-between the goal is to be outside to enjoy the sunshine. This spring commit to 30 mins of outdoor activity on a sunny day! It can be as simple as sitting outside on the front porch or walking a nearby trail. It's time to go back outside to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather!