April is the perfect time of year to set your sights outside. The weather is often mild, making adventuring appealing for any age or fitness level. Exploring your outdoor community is easier than you think and doesn’t only have to involve walking. Here are several ways to spend time in nature while having fun simultaneously!
Start Bird Watching
No longer just a niche interest, bird watching has taken off in recent years as a great way to get outside and enjoy nature. Buy a simple guidebook for your area, invest in some binoculars, and look up! Check with your local biopark employees for tips about habitats around your area. The best time for bird watching is early morning, so this is the perfect activity for those who get up with the sun. Make a list of the birds you’d like to find this summer and start the search!
Join a Community Garden
Gardening is a wonderful way to spend time outside. Unlike more intense physical activity, gardening can provide quite the workout without as much strain. You’ll also reap the benefits of spending slow, purposeful time in nature. After a couple of weeks, you should feel less stressed, more focused, and generally happier. If you don’t have space at your home to garden, look for community plots to join. With a minimal fee, these lots are an excellent way to spend time with plants and others in your area. You can find more information at lbcg.org
Volunteer for Youth Sports
Many youth sports teams gear up this time of year, and they’re always looking for volunteers. Community clubs often recruit parents to help coach and referee the games, but anyone from the area is welcome to help! You can expect some training from most organizations (and may have to complete a background check) before the start of the season. Coaching or helping on the sidelines is a fun way to get outside and interact with the vibrant kids in your neighborhood. You may even get the chance to pass along pro tips for your favorite sport! For information about opportunities with Boys & Girls Clubs visit bgclublb.org/Volunteer
If you haven’t heard about this outdoor activity yet, it’s time to try it. Geocaching involves becoming part of a worldwide outdoor treasure hunt, and the best part is that it’s available everywhere. You can start with websites like this one that explains the basics and give you some places to look for treasure coordinates. When you find a cache, there may be a booklet to sign your name or an opportunity to take a small treasure and then leave one of your own. If you don’t find any caches in your area, take the initiative and leave one yourself! Geocaching can be a fun incentive to get outside and explore.
Attend a Cultural Festival
With everything from Renaissance Fairs to art shows, many cultural festivals are popping up this time of year. You’ll get outside, get active, and probably learn a lot from talented local artists. Many city websites list these events on a central calendar, so browse yours to see what’s coming up. You can also contact local museums or organizations to see what festivals they have on their radar.
Learn Nature Photography
Learning a new skill is one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp as you age, and getting physical activity is essential for overall well-being. Combine the two by learning nature photography this summer. The financial investment is minimal—you can use whatever camera you have (even your phone!) and take advantage of free online courses or videos to hone your skills. Head out to different environments in your area to practice taking photos of various wildlife at all times of the day. You’ll be surprised by what you notice in the environment when looking with a photographer’s eye.
Join a Park Yoga Club
Neighborhood parks are often under-utilized spaces, especially among older adults. In recent years, however, there’s been a resurgence of community-oriented outdoor fitness like yoga, tai chi, or even dancing. These events are almost always free, so if you’d like to attend several until you find a good fit, don’t hesitate. One local option is Yoga on the Bluff at Ocean Blvd and Junipero, held daily at 11am.
Have Weekly Picnics
Plan to spend time in nature relaxing, eating good food, and enjoying the company of your friends and loved ones. Starting this month, make one night a week a picnic dinner and head to different locations each week. You can pack an elaborate basket for a more gourmet affair in the park or choose more rugged trail food for a backpack picnic in the foothills. This tradition will encourage you to find new spots around town to enjoy each time.
Whether you’re heading out for a day of treasure hunting or taking it easy in the neighborhood garden, the important part is that you spend time in nature for fitness and fun.