With summertime upon us and daylight hours at their peak, now is the ideal time to take advantage of the health benefits of being outdoors. Sunny days and warm weather provide a wonderful environment for breathing in some fresh air while getting active in the community, meeting up with friends, or trying out a new activity.
If you’re short on ideas of what to do while you soak in your daily allowance of Vitamin D, below are some ideas for seniors on how to fully enjoy this short-lived but highly-coveted summer season:
- Take a walk. Catch up with a friend while you stroll around a park or on a local beach, or head out on your own to catch an early morning sunrise or an after-dinner sunset. If you want to make your walk more meaningful, sign up as a volunteer at an animal shelter and take homeless dogs out for a walk.
- Have a picnic in the park. You don’t have to go all out with a blanket and basket; just pack your lunch and some water in a bag and sit on a park bench under the shade of a tree. Take off your shoes and breathe in the fresh-cut grass while you enjoy your surroundings.
- Love boating? Take a tour by water, whether it’s a duck boat tour, a sail up the Piscataqua River on the Gundalow, a cruise to the Isles of Shoals on the M/V Thomas Laighton, or a tour around Lake Winnipesaukee on the M/S Mount Washington. All accommodate wheelchairs; just be sure to call ahead so they can make the proper arrangements.
- Like to paint? Summer is the perfect time to discover endless subjects among the area landscape. Blooming flowers, colorful butterflies, crashing ocean waves—they’re all ready for you to capture with your paintbrush.
- You don’t have to go very far to do some serious bird watching. Whether you sit right outside your door and watch to see what feasts on your bird feeder or you head to a local area renowned for attracting a wide variety of species (like Great Bay National Wildlife and Odiorne Point State Park), watching birds offers us an easy and affordable way to capture and enjoy the beauty of our natural surroundings.
- Still have some fishing gear? Head to a local stream, lake, or ocean for an hour or two and drop a line in the water. The good news is that most states offer reduced rates or even free fishing licenses to senior citizens.
- With plants and flowers at full bloom, embark on a garden tour or become an active member of your local garden club.
- Reap the full benefits of finding your center through movements that ease osteoarthritis pain and improve bone and heart health by practicing Tai Chi
- Head to the water—be it a pool, a lake, or the ocean. Get together with friends for some water aerobics classes, or meet family for a trip to the lake. The beach can be a great place at night or in the morning when it is quieter and the sun is not as strong.
- Visit the local farmer’s market and try out new recipes with the fresh produce or make it a social event by inviting friends to a dinner made from your market finds.
- Get social and attend senior lunches. Here in Portsmouth, you can find one on the second Tuesday of every month and the fourth Thursday of every month at the Cafe at Community Campus. For only $5.00, you can make new friends and enjoy soup, sandwich, salad, and dessert.
- You’re never too old to enjoy an ice cream on a hot summer day. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumes more than 23 pounds of ice cream per year; a testament to why there’s no shortage of stands and shops serving up this tasty treat.
Whether you’re heading to the park for a stroll with friends or taking time one afternoon to try out what the food is like at a senior lunch, getting out and having fun is what the summer is all about. You’ll find that staying active and social while enjoying the summer weather will benefit your whole life—from your health to your attitude and everything in between.