Remember just a few short months ago when it was dark by 5pm? In the depths of winter, the days can seem to stretch on forever, and it sometimes feels like crawling into bed immediately after dinner is a great idea.
With the spring season comes longer days, warmer weather, and a sense of rebirth. It’s time to make the most of the beauty of springtime by enjoying time outside.
The Great Outdoors
Spending time outside can increase your physical fitness, positively impact your health, and change your whole mood. A study on the impact of therapeutic landscapes on wellbeing in seniors ages 65-86 found “how a relatively mundane experience, such as hearing the sound of water or a bee buzzing among flowers, can have a tremendous impact on overall health”. Indeed, people of all ages report decreased levels of stress and depression, increased energy levels, and an overall improvement in positive outlook with regular time in nature. However, this doesn’t mean you need to go scaling mountains or running marathons. Here are 5 delightful ways to enjoy the great outdoors this season.
Take a walk
Call up a friend, lace up your shoes, and hit the pavement. Many specialists recommend 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day – with 2,000 to 3,000 at a brisk pace – to achieve the maximum benefits of walking. Many cities and towns have designated green spaces with lovely walking paths, but you can also take a stroll around your neighborhood or to your local coffee shop. It’s a great time of year to look at your neighbor’s gardens and say hello!
Start a garden
Speaking of gardens, you can always start your own. If you have the outdoor space, having a vegetable garden right in your own backyard can encourage plant-based healthy eating, mindfulness, and a newfound appreciation for the farm-to-table experience. Some easy vegetables for new gardeners include cucumbers, zucchini, greens like spinach, and a wide variety of herbs such as basil, chives, or rosemary. Gardens take less than an hour of maintenance a day but create a calm and beautiful environment for reading, writing, or just basking in the sun. If you don’t have your own outdoor space you can look into community gardens nearby or offer to help a neighbor care for theirs.
Explore your neighborhood
Many neighborhood parks offer recreational programming in the spring and summer seasons. These might include outdoor concerts, fairs and festivals, and fitness programs like tai chi or yoga. Any of these would be wonderful reasons to get outdoors and support the local government’s efforts. You can check out your city or town’s Department of Recreation website or social media pages for more information.
Go bird watching
There are many Audubon Society approved bird-watching parks and sanctuaries across the country. You don’t need expensive equipment to enjoy this hobby, just take a walk through the park and listen for the chirps and chatter of avian friends. If you’re interested in learning more, you can always pick up one of the many birding guides available at local libraries. Bird watching is a perfect way to spend an afternoon – pack up a picnic and invite family or friends to enjoy the sun with you!
Browse a farmer’s market
Farmer’s markets happen throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Generally the farmers will have more produce to sell in the summer and fall, as spring is primarily a planting season. Your local farmer’s market will still have things for purchasing, though: you might see honey, fresh baked goods, homemade beauty products, pickled goods, or handmade arts. Browsing the farmer’s market supports the local economy, gets you a breath of fresh air, and can fill your home with delicious homemade goodies.
There are so many great ways to spend time outdoors during this beautiful season! Enjoy every last minute of it.