Summary & Highlights
1. There are a variety of outdoor activities that seniors can enjoy during the winter season, such as cooking outdoors, visiting outdoor attractions, playing with the kids in the snow, going to the beach, soaking in a hot tub, or even having an outdoor movie night.
2. Participating in outdoor winter activities has various physical and mental health benefits, such as increased mobility and improved mood.
3. Encouraging seniors to get out and enjoy the winter season can help prevent the onset of seasonal depression and can be a great opportunity to explore the world and strengthen relationships.
As the cold begins to bite and the long winter evenings signal that the low temperature is here to stay for a while, it’s time to turn our attention to those outdoor activities that will keep us mentally and physically active during the winter months.
Here are some great, creative, and safe outdoor winter activities for seniors that are not only healthy for mind and body – but that is quite simply fun – and can often be enjoyed by both the older members of the family, friends, and loved ones.
So, make sure you’ve read our winter safety tips for seniors, then choose an appropriate and safe activity to enjoy with your loved ones!
1. Get Cooking – Outdoors!
Cooking features high on the list of great family activities that can keep everyone entertained – and the creativity that can be involved in an outdoor cooking experience is great for keeping the mental processes flowing.
Of course, the bonus is that everyone gets to enjoy a fabulous meal after the barbecue (or any other type of cooking) is done.
Not up for a whole barbecue? Build a fire and roast some marshmallows, or make some s’mores!
2. Explore a Winter Wonderland
Just because the weather has turned chilly, there’s no reason not to explore the wonders that Mother Nature has provided, even in the coldest of months.
For those seniors who are lucky enough to live in a region where snow is a daily fact of life, the sheer pristine beauty of nature that can be encountered during a walk outside will provide a new appreciation for our natural world.
Even in areas not blanketed with snow, the opportunity to see others and stretch their legs is invaluable for continued mental and physical well-being.
However, seniors should always wrap up in warm clothing and ensure that extremities such as the head, hands, and feet are protected from the cold.
In very cold temperatures, a warm beanie, perhaps a chemical hand warmer, gloves, and woolen warm socks are recommended (and that’s not only for the older family members).
3. Enjoy Family
There are few things in life as uplifting as seeing the young outdoors in the colder weather. Playing a gentle game of catch or joining the younger family members in walking the dog is a fabulous way to enjoy the outdoors during the wintertime.
Be sure to wear appropriate winter boots for the elderly to reduce the chance of falling.
Things can become even more fun in the snow as the kids learn to ride toboggans or build those snowmen. Whether or not there is snow, you can get some great photographs to add to your albums.
4. Take in a Movie
It may seem strange, but those seniors with a nice backyard might consider having an outdoor movie night to create memories that will last a lifetime. This activity needn’t cost a fortune – you can get as cozy and intimate as you’d like or shoot for the stars.
A big-screen TV on the porch and some warm blankets are fabulous. Take it one step further and hire (or borrow) a projector that plugs into a laptop and some speakers that do the same.
Find a blank wall or go old school and hang up a sheet and the result is an outdoor theater (if there is snow on the ground and some willing younger hands, a passable screen can be constructed using the white stuff – and seniors can also get involved).
Then all that needs to be added is marshmallows and hot chocolate, and everyone who attends, from young to old, will have the time of their life.
Adding a backyard or patio heater can make the difference (a firepit or bonfire, which makes the marshmallow experience much more authentic). (See my recommended safe heaters for seniors in this guide)
The great thing about this outdoor activity is that seniors have easy access to all the comforts of the indoors, including those extra blankets and a restroom (this may be as important to the party’s younger members).
5. Visit an Outdoor Attraction
It may surprise some people, but those beloved attractions that were so popular during the summer months may be open and welcoming visitors during the winter season.
Take, for instance, botanical gardens. Most of them offer the perfect mix of indoor and outdoor fun.
They can expose nature lovers of all ages to winter wonders that sometimes escape our attention. For example, the beauty of evergreen trees and even winter birdwatching for seniors. You might just be surprised by the species that hang around for the snow.
Looking for a longer trip? Check out our list of winter getaways for seniors and the elderly.
6. Go to the Beach
Any senior living near the ocean should set aside some time during the colder months to visit the beach at least once during the season.
It may seem like the beach is more suited to lounging about in the sun and dips in the ocean, but there is a majesty to the stretches of sand and the sometimes rough seas that can be tremendously calming, especially when one begins to feel the pressures of cabin fever bite.
Access to a boardwalk or an established waterfront walking meander can make the experience that much more special. It may not be ice-cream weather, but a cup of something hot and a view over the water can be tremendously rewarding.
7. Get Wet
An unheated pool is definitely not on the cards during those cold winter evenings.
However, plenty of spas (as well as friends and family) may just have a hot tub available.
Even if the ground is covered in snow (or there is simply a chill in the air), a winter hot tub experience can be great for loosening senior muscles that have become a bit too used to a sedentary life indoors.
Sitting in a hot tub provides the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and family or simply enjoy the sound of laughter. Refreshments are always close at hand, as is good company.
A winter hot tub experience is the perfect relaxing experience – and an antidote to stress, aches, and pains. Just clear it with your doctor first.
Infographic: Outdoor Winter Activities for Seniors
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Make The Most of Outdoor Winter Activities As Seniors
Keep your mind – and body – active to make the most of winter experiences.
Simply sitting indoors and watching the world go by day after day, as those days get shorter, leads to seasonal depression – and can also adversely affect the body.
With an open mind – and a healthy attitude, winter need not be boring; in fact, it can be the perfect opportunity to explore the world – and rediscover why family and friends are so important.
Be proactive and suggest that the seniors in your life join in on your outdoor winter fun. You never know what winter wonders the entire family can discover together.