As a senior, you may be looking for interesting new ways to enjoy yourself in your retirement. No matter the time of year, there’s nothing quite like the great outdoors. Spending time outside is not only beneficial because of fresh air and vitamin D, but it will also enhance your sense of vitality and freedom in your golden years.
Let’s dive into some of the top outdoor activities for retirees living in the Walnut Creek area.
Going for a Walk or Jog
Though it may seem obvious, running, jogging, or even going for a daily stroll are great ways to increase the overall health of your heart and body. To prove it, one study showed that 30 minutes of moderate exercise (such as walking) 3 times a week improves your mood and self esteem, while also reducing anxiety and depression. Outside of the mental health gains, there’s also a long list of physical benefits as well:
- Improved sleep routines
- Increased energy and stamina throughout the day
- Reduced cholesterol
- Improved cardiovascular fitness
- More stable control over your weight
Even better news, you don’t need to do all 30 minutes at once each day; simply walking for 10- minute periods at a time 3 times each day is enough to earn you the benefits listed above.
If you’re looking to hit a stride of your own, consider checking out some of these beautiful parks nearby:
Contra Costa Trail
Often used by bikers as a hot destination to train, this trail provides beautiful scenery to look at while walking or jogging and is the connecting path between the California State Riding and Hiking Trail, as well as the Iron Horse Trail.
Iron Horse Trail
This highly popular trail features a long winding river and is great for dog-walking, birdwatching, biking, and, of course, walking or running.
Ygnacio Canal Trail
Exercising alongside the narrow irrigation channel of the Ygnacio Canal and Boundary Oaks Golf Course, this trail offers a number of additional parks and places to stop and enjoy on your weekly stroll or jog.
Starting a Garden
One of the many landscape traits that makes Walnut Creek such a beautiful place to live and retire is the high concentration of lush green spaces that span across the area. Whether you’re enjoying one of the trails listed above or taking a trip into the downtown area, you’ll always find a gorgeous assortment of plant life.
For those with a little extra time on their hands, Walnut Creek is a perfect location to start a garden, or join an existing one. Here, anyone and everyone can have a green thumb.
Gardening has numerous health benefits associated with it, making participation an easy way to boost your overall wellness without raising your heart rate. To name a few, benefits include:
- Stress relief
- Exposure to sunlight, providing increased levels of vitamin D (just be sure to wear sunblock)
- Decrease in loneliness, building connections with others
For inspiration, or for spending a beautiful day with family and friends, visit The Gardens at Heather Farm. The 6-acre farm has something for everyone, including educational and volunteer opportunities.
Taking a Hike
Regardless of the season, hiking is one of the best forms of exercise available because it is a workout for the entire body. From the steep steps up a mountainside or a winding dirt path going downhill, there’s so much to learn about your body from taking a trip into the wilderness.
There are plenty of health benefits associated with hiking, of course. An increased sense of balance comes from learning how to step from rock to rock, while your bones and muscles grow stronger from just using them more often. And even if you choose a less rigorous hike, being in nature is good for mind, body, and soul.
Luckily, Walnut Creek is home to Mount Diablo State Park, one of the ecological treasures of California. The park has a number of beautiful spaces and trails to visit that are favorites of both locals and travelers alike. Here are some great places to get started:
Castle Rock Regional Recreational Area
Great for beginners, this 3-mile hike provides everything you’d want to see on your morning stroll. Beautiful flora, high-flying wildlife (the American Peregrine Falcon nests just a short distance away) and lots of public facilities and amenities for use – picnic tables, horseback riding, well-maintained bathrooms, and more. It is also dog friendly.
Waterfall Loop at Mount Diablo State Park
A bit more intense than Castle Rock, the Waterfall Loop trail is approximately 5 miles long and features a few steeper climbs and small waterfalls on the way to the top. The peak stands at about 1,200 feet, and offers picturesque views that you don’t want to miss.
Briones Regional Park
Hikers come from all over California to enjoy Briones Regional Park and it’s 6.6 miles of cow-grazed hills and peaks. This is a “go at your own pace” type of hike, meaning anyone and everyone can enjoy the beauties that this trail offers. Plus, this trail is perfect for those looking to capture landscapes on camera as they travel from Briones to Mount Diablo State Park.
Take Advantage of the Outdoors
Whatever you decide to do, finding time to enjoy the outdoor scene is always going to be more beneficial than the alternative. And with the gorgeous year-round weather in Walnut Creek, you don’t have to be hitting the trails in order to spend some time outside – there are plenty of other ways to take in the California sun:
- Tennis or pickleball: As one of the premier retirement destinations in the state, tennis courts can be found everywhere in the area. A quick Google search can lead you to a nearby spot for 1-on-1 with a friend, or even to a club that sponsors pick-up games among other local seniors.
- Painting: Whether you’re finding a class that’s in town or taking advantage of a residence here at Viamonte, you can always find artistic opportunities abound in Walnut Creek.
- Grilling or hanging by the fire: With so many parks offering barbeque spots and public fire pits, it’s easy to grab a couple of friends and head out for a night of laughs and good food under the moonlight.
- Birdwatching: More than 600 bird species can be found in California, meaning over two-thirds of the species found in North America reside within state lines. Find some binoculars at your local store and check out the spectacular range of wildlife that roam the parks nearby.
Retirement Doesn’t Have To Include a Rocking Chair
If you just finished reading this piece, chances are you’re someone who has a knack for finding adventure wherever you go. Luckily for you, there’s an endless list of activities to get involved with in the Bay Area and beyond. All it takes is a little digging and some inspired legs to get the journey started.
Additionally, if you’re looking into retirement living, consider stopping by our campus here at Viamonte at Walnut Creek to see if we’re the right fit for you. If you have any questions ahead of time, you can always call us at 925-621-6600, or email us here.