Do you remember how great you felt after a long day playing outside as a kid? Studies show that connecting with nature can have positive impacts on both your physical and mental health.
According to a study published in Psychological Science, interacting with nature gives your brain a break from the everyday overstimulation we all experience from too much reliance on technology. We also know that vitamin D levels from the sun can improve your mood, and that being with animals can help those who are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Don’t let physical limitations limit your or your loved one’s ability to enjoy the tremendous benefits nature offers. Here are five easy, safe ways to enjoy the great outdoors, even if you or the person you care for has special needs that need to be taken into consideration.
Have a picnic in a public park: Public parks provide plenty of shade and are often built to accommodate children in strollers and people in wheelchairs. An added bonus – they are usually free!
Go to the zoo: Many studies show that pet therapy and interacting with animals can have a positive effect on our moods. An afternoon gazing into the eyes of monkeys and elephants is sure to make anyone smile!
Take a walk with a friend: Nature is even more enjoyable when it’s experienced with a friend. Rather than a lunch date or a coffee date, schedule a walking date with friends and family.
Go to a dog park: Even if you don’t have a dog, a dog park is a great place to watch little puppies run around. They are usually beaming with youthful energy as young families enjoy their pets, and the joy they are experiencing is sure to be contagious.
Open a window: If your loved one’s physical limitations prevent them from being outside entirely, try to find a pretty spot in your house by a window, and enjoy a cup of iced tea together as you appreciate the nature that’s right in your backyard.