By Charlie Fletcher

As we get older, our routines can become cemented. We can get into the habit of playing it safe at home and work as we sit for longer at our desks and may avoid the adventurous activities we enjoyed in our youth. While it’s okay to slow down a bit as you get older, a sedentary life will start to impact your physical and mental health. It won’t help you age well.

age well

You need to make regular movement — especially the type that takes place outdoors — a consistent practice. Not only will it help maintain your physical well-being, but exercising outdoors will give you energy and help you age well. Let’s take a look at a few activities you can try to feel good.

Exercise gets more important as we age

It’s important to keep exercising as you get older because, even though you may feel relatively healthy, you may face health problems as you age and exercise will help maintain your strength and health for longer. A few of the potential issues you could face include:

  • Hearing loss
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Joint pain

Your ability to avoid these will be strengthened by fitting a decent amount of moderate physical activity into your weekly routine. According to the Centers for Disease Control, older folks should try to fit in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days per week. You don’t have to run marathons or lift vast amounts of weight, but you should get active, and there are plenty of opportunities to do so outside. This is all going to help you age well.

Healthy outdoor activities

A go-to activity that many people enjoy is hiking. Some quick research online will likely show you a handful of hiking trails of different skill levels around your home, so go and check them out. A great app to try is All Trails.

There’s potentially so much to explore while you’re out in nature, and discovering and cataloging the new plants and animals you see, for example, is a great way to keep your mind active and sharp. Kick things up a notch by going on an overnight hike to an interesting destination. Hike and explore during the day, stay overnight at a campsite or cabin, and then continue your adventure the next day.

Folks who live near a lake or the ocean should consider the fantastic health benefits of wild swimming. You can jolt your system and enjoy a mini adventure by ditching the pool and hitting the natural waters. Swimming is very healthy because it provides a great challenge, strengthens your muscles, and helps you burn significant calories — all without significantly damaging your joints or bone integrity. 

If you’re not sure what type of activity you’d enjoy or you feel like you need the support of others in the same boat, then you can stay active and social by joining a group exercise class. Look online to find classes that focus on water aerobics, yoga, group swimming, and more. At a minimum, consider joining a walking club and get fresh air as you walk through different parts of your town.

Outdoor activities reduce stress and help us age well

It’s not uncommon to step outside your home and immediately feel mentally refreshed by the beauty of nature. Greenery and fresh air help us feel better because mother nature’s vibrancy helps bring us back to a more natural place where we’re not bothered by the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Stress reduction is definitely going to help you age well.

If you really want to enjoy everything the great outdoors offers, try one of the several types of nature therapy, such as adventure therapy. In adventure therapy, you’ll step out of your comfort zone by doing something that gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

Such an activity might include biking through the forest or whitewater rafting if you’re feeling really adventurous. You’ll probably have a blast as you engage in these activities, and then you’ll feel an incredible sense of accomplishment once you complete the challenge. 

There’s also conservation therapy, which is when you volunteer for a conservation project, like planting trees around your neighborhood or participating in a beach cleanup initiative. It’s a rewarding experience to do your part to clean up nature and make the world a better place, and you’ll also get some physical exercise along the way.

You can also engage in mindful activities at the local park or campground. Find a place away from the crowds, lay down a blanket, and try some basic yoga poses. They’ll stretch your body and help you to feel centered. You can also try meditation and breathing exercises to help you shut out the world and focus on improving your internal self as your stresses melt away.

Gardening is great for mental and physical health

You don’t necessarily need to go far away from home to get the mental and physical health benefits of being around nature, just go into your backyard and tend your own garden.

Gardening provides an incredible workout as you’ll need to crouch, dig, rake, and lift weights as you move your plants around. All in all, the activity necessary to plant your flowers and vegetables, remove weeds, and water the garden could help you burn 200-400 calories per hour — the same as taking a long walk. 

Perhaps the greatest benefit of planning your garden is the wonders it can do for your mental health. There’s no feeling quite like watching seeds you put into the ground grow and turn into healthy plants and vegetables. The act of gardening provides an incredible sense of accomplishment, and you’ll likely continue chasing the feeling every spring season.

The point is that there’s great beauty in nature, and the more time you spend outside admiring and appreciating the world around us, the better you’ll feel. If you believe you’re not spending as much time outdoors as you should, use this opportunity to change up your routine and feel great!

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. When not writing she is a part time wedding planner and spending time with her nephews.

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Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Editorial Staff

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