One of the perks of being a senior is that you suddenly find yourself having more than enough time to dive into things that interest you. In fact, sometimes that might be too much time. You want to avoid boredom, but more importantly, you need to resist the slow dulling of your mental faculties.
Learning a new skill is the best solution for a senior to stay sharp and have fun with their spare time. Any skill can prove stimulating. Reading, for instance; what better time to catch up on your to-read list than the final chapter of your life?
But seniors also need a regular shot of physical activity. It helps them to stay healthy, which translates to an improved quality of life and lower medical expenses.
So if you can find a hobby that combines the two, that would be ideal. And if it can also be accessible, and easily adjusted to suit varying skill levels? Perfect.
Outdoor photography doesn’t just give you something to do while the residential painting contractors are giving your home a makeover. It ticks all those boxes, and then some, offering a perfect hobby as you grow older.
As mainstream consumer technology has advanced in recent years, few skills have benefited more than photography. Everybody with a smartphone in their pockets already has a camera handy.
For seniors in particular, this accessibility is a major perk. When you’ve retired, you might not want to indulge in an expensive hobby. And photography gear can get expensive if you aren’t careful.
That said, smartphones have their limitations. The ergonomic can be tricky for older hands, and you don’t get the same level of control over results compared to a real camera.
Fortunately, photographers have options at various price points. A good DSLR or mirrorless body plus a kit lens can be had for 2-3 times the price of a midrange smartphone. You don’t have to go out of budget for more advanced capabilities.
Ansel Adams once said that “the single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” Many photographers can fall into the trap of believing that the only way to get better images is through upgrading their gear or going to picture-perfect locations.
But that’s not necessary. Your mind is what produces amazing images. Everyday scenes have the potential to captivate viewers. A good photographer notices things like interesting subjects and light amid the ordinary, and uses them to create art.
Elevating those scenes to the level of art is partly about technique. But it also requires awareness. You need to develop those skills, and that’s something which will stimulate your mind. It’s never too late to start paying attention to the beauty around you, and it will heighten your enjoyment of daily living.
Any kind of photography can provide the benefits mentioned thus far. You don’t have to leave home to take a still life or make memorable images of the grandkids. But outdoor photography combines the stimulus of learning a new skill with a boost in physical activity.
As we age, our mobility declines. We find it harder, maybe even unpleasant, to move around. And when that happens, it’s usually not enough to tell ourselves that we need to exercise because it’s good for us.
Tying that physical activity to something you love is an excellent way to overcome this resistance. You won’t dread the thought of going out in order to grease the groove of your aching joints. It’s no longer exercise to you, but just a part of finding interesting scenes to capture in your photos.
A timely aid
In this era of the pandemic, our elders have every reason to be cautious, even fearful for their health. Covid-19 seems to have disproportionately severe and far-reaching effects with age.
But seniors are ill-served by staying confined indoors. They are more susceptible to the adverse effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and the coronavirus is less contagious in outdoor areas.
Heading outdoors also has other health benefits related to the pandemic. Studies have shown that higher levels of Vitamin D are linked with lower mortality rates. And in general, people turn to nature for their well-being during times of uncertainty.
The timeless cycles of nature serve as a comfort, even as the world around us seems to be changing rapidly all the time. Head out with a camera and seek to observe and appreciate the simple things in our environment. They might fade away, but through the photographs you take, they can be preserved forever. It’s a comforting hobby to have in your golden years.