Stepping Into Serenity: The Benefits of Being Outdoors in Nature
Northern California’s natural wonderlands offer a year-round playground for outdoor enthusiasts, whether it’s hiking amidst towering redwood trees, birdwatching in wetlands or basking in the golden glow of Pacific Coast sunsets.
The fall season is a botanical spectacle to behold, with an array of native plants and flowers bursting into bloom. Iconic California poppies unfurl their brilliant orange petals, contrasting with the golden wild grass fields swaying in the breeze. Rugged coastal regions come alive with vivid hues of seaside daisies and lupines, while the woodlands showcase the deep reds and purples of native asters and sagebrush.
Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll or soaking in breathtaking scenery, nature has a very practical way of bringing tranquility and rejuvenation into your life. And for older adults, being outdoors surrounded by nature offers many advantages and activities that can significantly enrich their lives.
In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of nature, the benefits of being outside, outdoor activities for seniors and how Paradise Valley Estates residents are blooming where they’re planted and embracing native plants and drought-tolerant landscapes that surround them.
The Healing Power of Nature
Spending time surrounded by nature can alleviate stress, anxiety and depression. For older adults, the natural world offers a comforting escape from the daily hustle and bustle. The combination of fresh air and tranquil surroundings acts as a mental refresh button, a priceless resource for preserving mental well-being.
Engaging in outdoor activities like walking or gardening enhances physical fitness and mobility for seniors and promotes cardiovascular health while reducing the risk of chronic illnesses. Nature also serves as an ideal backdrop for social interactions and helps foster a sense of community. Seniors can form connections with friends, family and fellow nature enthusiasts.
The Benefits of Being Outside
Venturing into the great outdoors offers older adults a wealth of advantages. It’s a great source of vitamin D – a key player in maintaining strong bones and potentially lowering the risk of osteoporosis. Spending time in nature also triggers the release of mood-lifting endorphins, leaving you with a delightful sense of happiness and contentment. And, studies have shown engaging with the great outdoors can enhance cognitive function, making it an easy way to keep your mind sharp while reveling in the beauty of the natural world.
Outdoor Activities for Seniors
There are a variety of outdoor activities for seniors that can bring you closer to nature. Leisurely walks in nearby parks, nature reserves or local neighborhoods offer a chance to spot native plants and discover their unique characteristics. Exploring botanical gardens in the area is a relaxing way to admire the beauty and diversity of native plants. Many botanical gardens also provide educational programs and guided tours to enrich the experience.
At home, one way to connect with nature if you have limited space is through container gardening. You can grow native plants directly on your patio or balcony, with the added convenience of easily managing and arranging containers to suit your style. If you have a bit more space to work with, consider transforming part of your yard into a native plant garden. Not sure where to start? Audubon is a great resource, as is Bay Nature.
Local Flora: A Green Choice With Benefits
Northern California’s varied climates, spanning coastal areas to the Sierra Nevada mountains, emphasize the importance of choosing plants adapted to these conditions. Native plants, naturally occurring in the region, are particularly well-matched to local climates. These native species have evolved to thrive in California’s arid environment, rendering them drought-resistant.
You can create a stunning garden while conserving water, which is critical in a state plagued by droughts and water shortages. Native plants are generally low-maintenance, demanding less effort and resources to flourish. They also attract local wildlife and pollinators, from honeybees and beetles to hummingbirds and butterflies, allowing you to delight in the sights and sounds of nature right in your own backyard.
Going Native and Water-Wise in Paradise
Paradise Valley Estates spans 76 acres teeming with expansive views, diverse flora and fauna and lush landscapes. Many residents celebrate the importance of nature and the benefits of being outside by tending to gardens in their homes and apartments. And they also recognize the importance of adopting eco-friendly practices and a more sustainable and environmentally conscious lifestyle.
Our resident landscape committee recently implemented a 10-year plan to reduce water usage by converting much of our community’s sod and high-water plants to xeriscapes. Xeriscapes are smart landscaping solutions designed for dry regions such as California. They feature drought-resistant plants, water-conserving mulch and efficient irrigation, creating stunning and easy-to-care-for gardens.
With $7,500 in funding from Solano County’s Water Efficient Landscape Rebate Program, committee members will carefully choose a variety of colorful and drought-tolerant trees, shrubs, grasses and plants that not only conserve water but also reduce maintenance needs. They’ll initiate the project with a designated area to demonstrate how xeriscaping can both conserve water and create a stunning natural landscape.
“Eventually, we’ll have a path so residents can stroll through the area, watch the garden grow and enjoy the visiting birds and butterflies. Plus, we’re grading the plot to channel runoff water to help water the plants,” said resident Jean Whitridge, landscape committee chair. “We’ll also enrich the soil to ensure the young plants grow into strong, healthy flowers, shrubs and trees that will keep Paradise grounds looking gorgeous.”
Explore our website to learn how Paradise Valley Estates creates a retirement lifestyle where residents thrive and bloom with limitless opportunities, beautiful and maintenance-free residences, five-star dining and enjoyable amenities.
Featured Image: Zoran Pucarevic / Shutterstock