Spending time outside as you age is super important for your physical and mental health. It keeps you active, feeling happy & can help slow down the effects of aging. And the best part is, not only are there tons of outdoor activities for seniors that you can do even if you’re limited by mobility… but a lot of them are either incredibly inexpensive or entirely free!
Why Are Outdoor Activities Important For Healthy Aging?
Many studies show that spending time outdoors…
- Boosts mood & overall sense of happiness
- Increases energy & vitality
- Increases Vitamin D
- Boosts immunity
- Improves sleep
- Improves memory
- Slows the production of stress hormones
- Reduces symptoms of depression & anxiety
- Maintains muscle mass for better mobility, balance & flexibility
The 15 Best Outdoor Activities For Seniors That Are Actually Fun
1. Go sightseeing & be a tourist in your own town
Sightseeing isn’t just for vacations away! All too often we forget about all the fun and interesting things there are to do & see right here in our own backyards. So spend some time exploring or even take a tour and re-discover the unique parts of your own hometown.
2. Take a dog for a walk (even if you don’t have your own)
Walking is one of the best ways to easily get outside. Taking a dog or other pet with you adds an extra layer of cuteness and fun (who doesn’t love puppy cuddles?) Plus, you can even make money doing this! There are plenty of websites with pet owners looking for dog walkers while they’re busy working or for pet sitters while they’re away. Just search “dog walkers & sitters app” online.
3. Play a gentle sport
Sports don’t have to be a thing of the past for you. You just need to find new sports that are a better fit for where your body is at. There are plenty of gentle sports for seniors to add some competitive fun to your day:
- Frisbee golf
- Regular golf
- Racquet sports like outdoor badminton, ping-pong, pickleball or even tennis
- Lawn bowling
- Lawn games like bocce ball, croquet or horseshoes
4. Watch your favorite sports
You don’t have to play a sport to get outside. Even just watching outdoor sports provides a lot of benefits. Simply getting out of the house boosts your overall mood. Go with your friends for some social connection or go watch your grandkids on the playing field to feel closer to family.
5. Go stargazing & be in awe of the universe
There’s nothing more beautiful than a quiet night with a canvas of stars painted across the sky above you. Take your spouse, go with your friends or even plan an outing with family.
6. Discover something new at your local farmers market
Wander along the stalls of local artisans & bakers as the fragrant smells of homemade food wafts over you. Laugh in delight when you discover an unexpected craft or product you never knew existed before. And be sure to sample any of the mouth-watering food you can.
7. Explore the wonder of nature at the zoo or arboretum
Feel like a kid again as you stroll through the zoo watching exotic animals play (and maybe even getting to pet some if you’re lucky!) Or head to the arboretum (a botanical garden devoted to trees) and experience the calmness that comes over you when you’re surrounded by the beauty of nature.
8. Take your indoor hobbies to the park
If you like doing it inside… you’ll love doing it outside. So many “indoor” hobbies can easily be taken outdoors. So pack up a day bag and head to the park. Everything from knitting & embroidery to reading, drawing, playing an instrument, writing or journaling can be done outside.
9. Play in the dirt & do some gardening
Gardening is a timeless classic for older adults. It’s fun, it’s rewarding… and if you plant the right things—it’s incredibly tasty too! Whether you’re more into flowers or vegetables, gardening keeps your muscles in use which improves your strength, mobility, joints & even your balance.
10. Enjoy a picnic feast or cookout
Who doesn’t want to enjoy good food & good company? Gather your friends or your family and find a spot where the grass is green, the sun is shining and enjoy the boost to your mood that comes from connecting with your loved ones.
11. Go on a photo adventure
There are so many beautiful, unique & interesting things to see right out your front door. Grab your phone (or camera if you have one) and go looking for facebook-worthy photos to share with your family & friends. Or if you’re having a party—do a photo scavenger hunt and make it a game! See how + get more party game ideas for older adults here (Click Or Tap)
12. Explore your neighborhood or local trails on foot
Walking is the #1 way older adults like to spend their time outside. And it’s the easiest too. Either head to a park, find a “green” rated hiking trail or even just wander about your own neighborhood. Pay attention to your surroundings & be in the moment—wherever you are is a beautiful place to be.
13. Go birdwatching & listen to their beautiful songs
Another classic outdoor activity for seniors, birdwatching is simple & rewarding. Watch & listen as bird species of every kind sing, play and flutter about. It’s especially fun when you discover a new species you haven’t seen before! Take a journal and keep track.
14. Bring your grandkids to the park
Quality time with family always makes you feel good. Spend some time connecting with your grandkids while getting some fresh air to double up on those mood-boosting endorphins. As a bonus… your own kids will be ever so grateful for the break as you take their kids off their hands for a little while.
15. Take your yoga, pilates or tai chi class outside!
Spending time outdoors makes us feel so good in part because it keeps us more active than when we’re inside. Our overall health is completely tied up with our physical health. So the more active we are the better we feel in every way. To enhance your exercise routines, try taking them outdoors.
Yoga, pilates & tai chi are some of the best outdoor activities for seniors because they are very gentle on the body. Here are the most gentle programs you can take with you anywhere you go: