Memorial Day is upon us, and that signals the semi-official start of summer here in the Tristate. With the return of warm weather, a senior living in Cincinnati has plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors and get in some fun, necessary exercise.
Here are three ways you or your senior loved one can get out, get moving and enjoy the summer, without breaking the bank.
1. Take a hike — it’s for the birds!
The Tristate has an incredible abundance of wooded parks with shady walking trails — perfect for seniors who want fresh air, but don’t want to be subjected to the full heat of a Cincinnati summer. They’re also perfect places to see the full plethora of migratory birds that come through the region during May.
Southern Ohio regularly plays host to over 30 species of warblers, many of which winter in South America and breed in the far north. A senior might also catch glimpses of visiting vireos, sandpipers (some of which migrate all the way from Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego region to the Arctic Circle in just a few long-distance flights), migrating ducks and other waterfowl.
View More: Common Birds of Ohio Guide [PDF 📑 ]
By late June and early July, most of the migration activity has settled down, only to resume in August as the same birds start making their way back south for the winter. If you really want to experience the awe and beauty of our natural world, grab a pair of binoculars and take a birding hike this month.
Many of the Great Parks of Hamilton County feature diverse habitats, including mixed deciduous woods, shrub lands and thickets, grassy meadows, marshes and riparian zones along our freshwater streams and lakes, making them excellent rest stops and nesting spots for migrants.
Shawnee Lookout, at the confluence of the Ohio and Great Miami Rivers, is known by birders nationwide as a particularly rich “migrant trap.” It’s also home to fascinating Native American earthworks; some research has indicated that the site may be one of the oldest, continually inhabited Native American sites currently known.
2. Take a dip
Summer heat starting to sap you? Why not head out to your local swimmin’ hole and cool off? Or, if the thought of swimming in our lakes or rivers gives you pause, take a dip in your own retirement community’s pool or join the YMCA of Greater Cincinnati, your local JCC or a private swim club.
Swimming is a wonderful, whole-body, low-impact exercise for seniors. It burns calories to keep you trim, loosens up stiff joints, and strengthens and tones your muscles. Swimming can also soothe muscular and arthritic aches, helping you to feel better without the need for strong pain medications.
If you just want to enjoy an occasional outdoor dip, or don’t have the funds to spring on a full membership, remember too that the Cincinnati Recreation Commission operates a network of community swimming pools and “spraygrounds” — perfect for afternoons in the sun by yourself, or with your grandchildren!
3. Get out to the ballpark
And, no, we don’t just mean trekking downtown to Great American Ball Park to see the Reds. There are plenty of places where you can watch a ballgame this summer and enjoy the evening air on the cheap.
Grab a comfortable folding camp chair and head out to any community park with a ballfield on a Friday or Saturday evening, and you’re likely to find a youth baseball game, church league or beer league softball game already in progress. Few of them require admission; just choose a spot along one of the foul lines and enjoy the action.
If semi-professional baseball interests you, you could head down to Florence and take in a Frontier League game. You could take a scenic drive out to Chillicothe and take in a collegiate-level, wooden bat Prospect League game.
Or, you could visit “New” Crosley Field in Blue Ash, where you can watch area high school or Cincinnati Adult Baseball League games and indulge in a bit of nostalgia for seasons long past.
Whatever you do this summer, make sure you get outdoors.
Nice weather, as we know, doesn’t last year-round in temperate regions like the Tristate. If you’re a senior living in or around Cincinnati, take advantage of it while you can. After a long winter cooped up indoors, you deserve some sunshine.