Spring has sprung—okay, so maybe not weather-wise everywhere, but flowers are blooming and birds are chirping. It’s only a matter of time until all of us have serious spring fever. It’s that time of year when we shun the indoors and all those warm layers and let the sun shine on our cheeks for as long as we can take it. But it’s also a time when we often think of taking up new outdoor hobbies. Many of these have to do with more exercise and better nutrition, as the winter can be hard on our health. Some of us are intimidated, however, thinking you can’t teach an old (or relatively old!) dog new tricks. For shame! Read on for five spring activities that are never too late to learn.
Skeptics will say, “What’s the big deal? Isn’t this just basically walking but on trails?” Sure, there are plenty of easy trails that lend themselves more to walking (these are great for beginners) but these people aren’t going to be singing the same tune when hiking a 14,000 foot mountain (“14ers, as they’re called in Colorado). Whether you choose a more challenging hike with steep climbs and plenty of turns or you choose something a bit more mellow, hiking is the perfect way to catch the best views of wherever you live. Make sure to bring your phone and/or camera to capture some scenic shots for posterity’s sake. Also, if you are doing something more challenging, you want to make sure you are physically and mentally prepared, and have all the supplies you need to face any situation. REI offers a great checklist.
This one goes hand in hand with the first hobby, as one of the best things about hiking is making a weekend of it by camping with friends and/or family members. Memories will be made that will last a lifetime. And whether you go hard core and hike to camp with backpacks on your backs or you pull up a huge RV or van filled with cushy supplies (and food and beer, of course), this is something everyone can get into. The daytime is great as you take in the scenery and activities nearby, but the real fun happens at night, roasting s’mores, playing cards, and telling ghost stories around the campfire. Of course, for those who cringe at the idea of sleeping on the ground or under the stars, there’s always glamping. This cosmopolitan version of camping has gotten so popular, there are no shortage of places to enjoy this trend across the U.S.
We will relent that surfing can be intimidating when you first start, which is why you probably want to hit some mellow waters first that are meant for beginners. This will be where you pick up the surf etiquette, too, as veteran surfers can be a little territorial. But once you’ve caught your first wave, you’ll know why they are so passionate about this amazing sport. There is no better feeling in the world, and you’ll likely catch the surfing “bug” in no time. Once you do get into it, there are a ton of really cool surf related products you’ll enjoy. And whether you find yourself to be more of a body surfer, longboard-lover, SUPer (stand-up paddleboarder), or other, this is one sport you’ll want to do over and over.
If the only thing you’ve been able to keep alive for longer than a few months is your Beta fish, gardening is likely intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. There are classes you can take, plenty of Gardening 101 articles, and books to pick up on the very topic. And if you’re going for the kind of garden that produces food, you’ll quickly learn what the heartiest fruits and vegetables are. Start with things like tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers, as they are the easiest to grow. Once your confidence grows, the sky is the limit for your newly-turned green thumb.
5. Join a Running Group
If you’ve been Netflix-binging day and night due to the inclement weather, spring is a great time to turn things around with your health. Running is not only great exercise, but if you find a local running group, it can be a wonderful way to meet new people. Simply search online for a group nearby, or use the site MeetUp.com. There are usually groups for every level, so don’t be intimidated if the farthest you’ve run is to your mailbox. Running is a sport that you can easily conquer if you take it slowly to avoid injury and stay consistent with it.
Banish the “old dog, new tricks” mentality this spring and give something new a try. Pick something off this list or another hobby you’ve always wanted to give a go, and your sense of accomplishment and grateful joy will soar.