Spending time outdoors has proven mental and physical benefits for older people so it’s good to plan in regular activities that involve getting out and about to improve general well being and health. Outdoor activities can help to improve mood, give you energy and even help you to get a good night’s sleep – better yet, they can be enjoyed all year round.
Birdwatching is a contemplative activity which requires patience and alertness, but fundamentally it gives you the opportunity to observe the wildlife around you and spend time outdoors.
Gardening uses plenty of motor skills and can help to improve mobility and flexibility. Alongside the physical benefits, it also helps people to relax and reduces stress – you could even grow your own produce if you’re particularly green-fingered!
Even if your loved one can’t walk far, a simple stroll can do wonders for their physical and mental health. Not only that, it’s also an activity that you can do it anywhere – a walk along the high-street, through the park or simply round your garden.
4. Nature photography
Photography is a great way to reduce stress and gain a new appreciation for the world around you. Many amateur and professional photographers will agree that being submersed in nature taking photographs and admiring its beauty has a definite relaxing effect. You don’t need a professional camera to reap the benefits either, a basic digital camera or smart phone will do the trick.
Picnics are enjoyed by all ages, and can be a simple way to enjoy the great outdoors as well as socialising with family and friends. Basking in natural surroundings and taking in the fresh air is a great remedy for stress, as well as a social activity for all. And fresh air can often help stimulate jaded appetites.
6. Boat rides
Boat rides are great fun, whether you’re taking a trip down the canal, a ride along the river or simply hiring a boat for an afternoon, it’s a great change of scenery. It is also widely agreed that there are plenty of therapeutic benefits to being close to the water with many citing it as a calming experience. Just make sure you follow safety instructions and use lifejackets if necessary.
7. Visiting gardens
Public gardens provide a welcome respite from urban environments. They also give visitors the opportunity to see exotic plant species, as well as natural wildlife, creating a great day out for everyone. The National Trust also has a fantastic array of gardens - many with easy access and they often have tea shops and a loo. It’s also worth looking up the National Garden Scheme for your area - many local people open up their private gardens to raise money for charity.
8. Gentle sports such as bowls
There are plenty of sports for older people to get involved in, whatever their fitness levels, mobility or age. You don’t need to work up a sweat to feel the benefits of exercise, in fact many gentle activities like bowls or swimming can help to combat various health conditions, as well as improving overall quality of life.