Bird watching as a hobby offers benefits for seniors, as it does for people of all ages. While bird watching can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, we will look at how its benefits might be especially relevant to the perspective of senior citizens.
Birding could just be the best hobby for retirees! Not only is it a great way to get some exercise and fresh air, but it also has a number of physical and mental health benefits.
It allows seniors to spend time outdoors and connect with nature in a meaningful way.
We hope you will enjoy our suggestions on how birding can suit your individual needs and interests as an older adult. Or perhaps you are a caregiver wondering if your loved one might enjoy a new hobby, regardless of their age?
Bird watching is a very versatile activity that can be enjoyed at any level of mobility or activity. Read on to learn about the ways birding can help seniors’ health and well being.
Bird watching boosts health benefits for older physiques
The physical benefits of birdwatching are numerous and well-documented. One of the most notable benefits is the improvement in cardiovascular health.
By getting out and actively searching for birds, bird watchers are engaging in regular physical activity, such as standing, walking and hiking, which helps to improve the health of the heart and circulatory system.
This can lead to a reduction in the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.
Even if it is light exercise there’s a benefit. And of course walking can be done at whatever pace you choose, with or without inclines or hills – with plenty of opportunities to stop and look at birds if you wish!
Tone up muscles
Another benefit of birdwatching is the improvement in muscle strength and flexibility.
The act of walking and hiking can help to strengthen the muscles in the legs and core, as well as improve overall flexibility. This is particularly beneficial for older individuals, as it can help to reduce the risk of falls and improve overall mobility.
Regular physical activity can help slow the progression of dementia symptoms, which is a common concern for older individuals.
Taking a walk around the lawn, or going out to replace the bird feeders, can provide regular physical activity that helps keep older people healthy.
The relationship between nature and mortality in seniors
Research has shown that spending time in nature can reduce blood pressure, stress levels, and the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
The potential of bird watching in reducing these sorts of health risks is particularly good news for birders who spend extra time outside, or even exposed to natural views from indoors.
For more detailed information on how bird watching benefits our bodies, feel free to investigate this article – How birding is good for physical health + wellbeing.
Good news for older adults on bird watching and cognitive function
In addition to the physical benefits, bird watching can also improve cognitive function and delay the onset of age-related conditions such as dementia.
Studies have shown that older adults who participated in leisure activities, such as bird watching, had better cognitive function than those who did not.
Recognizing and recalling familiar birdsongs can be both reassuring and interesting. Many people experience positive emotions from focussing on and appreciating our feathered friends – Can birding make you happy? (emotional benefits + why)
Keeping our senses on alert
Involving, as it does, both listening and looking out for cues and clues about identification and behaviour, bird watching stimulates several senses at once.
The act of observation also engages memory and reflexes – all helpful for keeping our brains active, alert and inspired. Using all these faculties on a regular basis improves mental sharpness as well as helping to maintain mood.
As it’s a commonly researched topic, we cover the specific mental health benefits of bird watching in greater depth in this article – Can bird watching help anxiety, depression or dementia?.
Opportunities to make new friends with other birders
Bird watching is also a great way to socialize and make new friends. This can be done through joining a local birding club, going on organized bird watching walks or events, or sharing observations with fellow birders.
It’s a versatile hobby that can be enjoyed in different ways and places, from your own street or backyard to nature preserves and parks.
Finally, joining a local birding club or organization can be an excellent way for seniors to connect with others who share their interest in bird watching.
These groups often organize regular meetings, field trips, and other activities that provide opportunities for socialization and mentorship.
If you are a senior person looking to participate in bird watching there are great opportunities, many aimed specifically at older adults.
Take a look at our detailed article here
Bird watching for seniors – next steps
For seniors, whether in excellent health or with limited mobility, birdwatching is a wonderful opportunity to get out of the house and experience the beauty of nature. Even a short trip to a nearby park or nature reserve can provide a refreshing change of scenery and help to keep the mind active.
Not only is birdwatching a great way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors, but it can also be a fun and engaging activity. It’s something that you can easily do by yourself.
But there are also opportunities to share your new enthusiasm with others if you so wish. For those keen for companionship, consider joining a group for your birding adventures.
For retirees and seniors who are looking for a new hobby, bird watching has so many mental, physical and social benefits, it’s difficult to think of a more versatile and rewarding pastime. But then we are biased, and would love for you to get as hooked as we are!
- 1 Bird watching boosts health benefits for older physiques
- 2 The relationship between nature and mortality in seniors
- 3 Good news for older adults on bird watching and cognitive function
- 4 Opportunities to make new friends with other birders
- 5 Joining in can benefit those keen to socialize
- 6 Bird watching for seniors – next steps