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The Arbor Company Senior Living Blog

Spring into Action: Healthy Outdoor Activities for Seniors

Mar 15, 2017 1:00:00 PM / Francine O'Neill Francine O'Neill

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With winter’s chill mostly done for the season, it is time to begin looking forward to all things spring. Along with pretty pastels and new flowers bursting from the cold ground, the spring season is also the perfect time to shake off cabin fever by heading outside. These outdoor activities for seniors are guaranteed to give you a breath of fresh air, improve quality of life, and provide a wake-up call for your senses. Whether you try one or all of them, be sure to head outside this season.

Birding

Humans aren’t the only ones enjoying the warmer weather of spring. Birds are out and about this season, singing and chirping in neighborhoods all over the country. Consider picking up a new hobby that allows you time outside enjoying these colorful songbirds by discovering birdwatching. With a comfortable pair of shoes, a regional bird guide, and a pair of binoculars, you can get started exploring the birds around your neighborhood or local forest preserve.

If you aren’t sure where to look, or what to look for, consider joining a local birdwatching club. You’ll make new friends and learn some of the best spots to catch a glimpse at regional wildlife. If you can’t find a local birdwatching club, call your local senior center or park district to see if there is a birding class or workshop you can participate in.

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Hiking

Grab a pair of comfortable shoes and hit the trails this spring. Hiking your local trails is a wonderful way to exercise, get fresh air, and enjoy the not-too-hot temperatures of spring. Depending on where you live, you might find that you enjoy hiking on paved trails around your town’s parks. Or you may branch out and enjoy limestone, gravel, or dirt trails that weave throughout forest preserves or other scenery.

Aside from food and water, be sure to bring a map, your phone, and a friend when you hike. These can keep you safe and keep you social. After all, hiking is best enjoyed with friends! Not sure where to get started? Your local park district will likely have well-maintained trails throughout your town that you can try first. You’ll feel proud after your hikes and will discover new parts of your town.

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Gardening

Spring is often the favorite season for well-established hobby gardeners. If you don’t believe you have a green thumb, you don’t have to count yourself out with this sensory hobby. Try joining a gardening club, take a gardening workshop, or invite over a gardener friend to give you some tips.

If you are feeling unsure, start small. Plant a few flowers in pots or start a small herb garden. No matter if you are a master gardener or just a beginner, gardening can be a hobby to carry you through the next three seasons.

Tai Chi

Gentle movement is the basis of many senior-exercise programs, and Tai Chi is one of the best ways to experience this therapeutic range of motion. You can take classes at your senior center or learn how to practice Tai Chi on your own. Either way, get an even better experience by practicing Tai Chi outdoors. You’ll get the benefits of body movement as well as fresh air, sunshine, and the sensory stimulation that nature provides.

This spring, get outside! You’ll love exploring new hobbies or picking up an old one; in addition, your body and mind will love the extra dose of nature.

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Francine O'Neill

Francine O'Neill

Francine O’Neill serves as a clinical resource for resident care directors, overseeing ongoing quality improvement programs and regulatory compliance. She assists with identifying and implementing programs that enhance care delivery and service to our residents and their families. Francine has more than 20 years of experience in health care, serving in both clinical leadership and operations management positions across the continuum of care including assisted living, long term care and acute care. Francine's favorite traits in others are COMMITMENT and ACCOUNTABILITY.

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