- Aging & Longevity
5 Ways You Can Use The Outdoors To Extend Your Life!
Spring has sprung in most parts of the world and that means warmer weather, the snow and ice are gone, and there’s more opportunity to get outside and enjoy! Even better, getting outside and enjoying the first days of good weather can extend your life! For people of all ages, going outside leads to better metabolic health, heart rate, immunity, and sleep rate, all of which add years to your life.
Never Too Old for Nature
Unfortunately, when people think of going outside, they think of the fit jogger training for a half-marathon or a seasoned, rugged hiker, so the idea of The Great Outdoors as a health-booster feels intimidating to people who don’t have the ability to climb a mountain, let alone run a 5K! And as we age, the number of people who have limited mobility gets higher. So if you are getting up in years and/or have limited mobility, here are some simple things you can do to get outside or enjoy fresh air more:
Even if you don’t have a fancy camera, you can grab your phone or a disposable camera and head outside to capture imagery. Photography is a great way to relax and show others your view of the world, and it can be done at any mobility level!
2. Bird or Wildlife Watching
Get a field guide to birds and wildlife in your area, set up a bird feeder, and see who comes to your back yard! You can watch birds from your window, or even sometimes if you sit still on your porch. You can even take your guide to a park and see what birds and animals you find there!
3. People Watching
For city dwellers, getting outside and in nature can be challenging, especially if you don’t have access to parks. So make use of café benches or public places to sit. Find a bench or a chair and you can observe your surroundings. If your mobility is limited, it can be difficult to get outside, and your environment can hinder what you have access to.
4. Nonstrenuous Strolls In The Park
If you can walk on your own or with an aid, and live near a park or a nature trail, you can strap on your sturdy, comfortable walking shoes (remember arch support!) and head out for a stroll. If you get tired, many parks have benches that you can utilize to sit, rest, and take in nature. If you are wheelchair bound, there are parks and even some trails which are wheelchair accessible.
5. Open Your Windows
If it’s difficult for you to leave your home, you can still get the benefits of fresh air by opening a window or standing or sitting on your porch or balcony. Stand in front of it Breathe. Observe your surroundings – the birds, the people, etc. Don’t focus on anything else. Also, if it’s a nice day and you have a porch or balcony to sit on, bring a chair or your wheelchair out with an activity and do an activity, knitting, reading, etc. that you would normally do inside out in nice weather or right by your open window!
Do What Works For You
Finally, if you can’t get out to nature, you can also bring nature to you. Keep houseplants in your home or work place, hang pictures of nature out. It can be as simple as opening the curtains or changing your desktop background. You'll be surprised at the benefits you feel from surrounding yourself with natural beauty! And remember to cultivate the benefits of being outside – slow down, breathe, and take time to enjoy life!