Getting out into the natural world may become more difficult as we age, but it should not be discounted as an important successful aging tip. In the Blue Zones, where people routinely live to 100 or more, daily interaction with the natural environment is normal. They tend to live in less urban societies, work in gardens, care for farm animals, and walk or bike rather than drive to get where they need to go. And according to the article, “What are the Benefits of Interacting with Nature?,” research shows spending time in nature can benefit humans in body, mind, and soul. Here are ways to find your way back to nature and reap the benefits for successful aging.
Check out walking trails
Walking trails have become a valuable part of many park programs thanks to innovative ideas like “Rails to Trails” and are available even in many urban areas where land has been set aside for that specific purpose. Some wind through woodlands, others along lakes, rivers and creeks, and some link parks and other natural areas together making them a valuable asset in your quest for successful aging. The variety of walking trails is pretty amazing, and many are accessible to wheelchairs and other mobility aids making successful aging easier for everyone. A great way to locate walking and hiking trails nearby is on Traillink.com provided by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
Visit a botanical garden or arboretum
It’s hard to beat the beauty and natural diversity of a botanical garden and they are everywhere! Many are at colleges and universities and others are maintained through other institutions and groups. The best part is that many are free to enjoy and can be truly restful and relaxing places to just embrace nature and absorb all it has to offer toward more successful aging.
Arboretums are also amazing places to take in nature’s diversity amongst towering, flowering, and unique tree species. Of course, they vary by climate but are great places to learn more about native and invasive species and get a dose of the great outdoors at the same time. For a pretty inclusive list of botanical gardens
Take up birdwatching
Birdwatching is a wonderful way to watch nature and it can be done just about anywhere, including your own patio or balcony. Parks, lakes, marshes, and rivers are ideal birdwatching spots, but anywhere there is habitat or food (think bird feeder!) will bring our feathered friends together. It may come as a surprise that birdwatching can become habit forming, making it more fun to spend time outdoors and reaching the goal of successful aging. To get going with birdwatching, The birdwatchingdigest.com article, “Top 10 Tips for Better Bird Watching,” is great for beginners.
Make a garden
Gardening is ubiquitous across the Blue Zones where residents grow fruits and vegetables for their own families. But even in big cities there are ways to “grow your own” and get the benefits of fresh produce as well as stronger muscles, better dexterity, less stress, lower risk of depression and dementia, improved immune system, and the sense of well-being that comes with being productive. And just enjoying a day outdoors is a mood booster that is especially great for successful aging. Find out more in the retirementtipsandtricks.com article, “ 11 Science Based Benefits Why Gardening Is Good For Seniors.”
Go to the beach
There is something about water that is soothing and yet invigorating, drawing humans to it over millennia. Just about any waterbody is a magnet for humans, but a day at the beach has proven health benefits as detailed in the wideopeneats.com article, “Listen to Science: These Are the Health Benefits of the Beach,” that include lower stress levels, a dose of vitamin D, lower blood pressure, and improved immunity. So, hit the beach as part of your successful aging program to enjoy nature, get some essential sunshine, and maybe find a keepsake like sea glass or a pretty shell to remind you of the trip.
Bring the outdoors in
Since the weather isn’t always nice enough to be outdoors, having a little greenery indoors is almost as good. There are lots of ways to accomplish it and the Blue Zones article “Bring a Bit of the Outdoors Into Your Home,” offers unique and beautiful ideas like through art, light, and more based on lessons from the Blue Zones. For tips on indoor gardening check out thespruce.com article, “Indoor Gardening: A Beginner’s Guide.”
Successful aging and the great outdoors go hand-in-hand and at Sonrisa Senior Living, our residents have plenty of ways to enjoy nature right at home. Check out our free Successful Transitions Guide for more information about the moving to senior living. To learn more about all that Sonrisa has to offer in luxury independent living, contact us today!