What’s one of the most enjoyable things you can do for free? Why, getting outside, of course!

While love for nature can vary from individual to individual, there’s no denying that time spent exploring the great outdoors can bring about powerful benefits. Whether you’re a committed wilderness camper or a fan of casual picnics by the beach, nature has something to offer.

Time spent in nature can not only be enjoyable, it can also create a whole host of physical, mental and emotional benefits including:

  • Reduced stress levels
  • Improved mood
  • Relaxation

Exposure to natural light is also super good for your physical and psychological health. For example, it can lead to better Vitamin D absorption and improvements in sleep.

With many outdoor settings being accessible for free, planning a nature-oriented activity is the perfect way to socialise with friends and family. This is especially beneficial for people who prefer to be active or out and about, rather than sitting for long periods at social events.

Of course, outdoor activities are better suited to certain seasons more than others. When winter sends us reaching for thick socks, jumpers, and hot water bottles, it can be less appealing to head out for an adventure in the cold. If you struggle to get outside as much during the winter or if you’re just looking for new ways to enjoy the many benefits of nature time, these tips will help!

The benefits of spending time in nature during winter

With the intensity of Adelaide summers, winter can be the best time of year to explore local regions and natural sights. Certain activities, such as walking and hiking, are easier on the body due to lower temperatures in winter. Being outside in cooler conditions also reduces the risk of dehydration, heat stroke, and sunburn (though you should always slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide!).

With careful planning, all kinds of winter activities can be enjoyed by people living with disability. Many organisations offer tailored and accessible activities ranging from simple walks to extreme adventure sports.

Exploring nature during winter – tips for people living with disability

While spending time in the great outdoors during the colder months can be invigorating, planning and preparation is necessary to make sure you’re warm and comfortable throughout the day. Consider the following tips:

  • Ensure you’re dressed appropriately. The right clothing will keep you warm and dry when you’re spending time in nature over winter. Layering is a great idea, giving you the option to remove or add pieces of clothing throughout the day. Check the weather in advance to see if waterproof gear is required.
  • Research accessible outdoor spaces and trails. Many Australian nature spots are accessible and inclusive for individuals living with disability. By researching ahead of time, you can find a park or reserve with accessible trails and amenities, allowing you to get up close and personal with everything nature has to offer.
  • Look for providers who offer modified activities. Some outdoor activities require modification to make them accessible for people living with disability.
  • Connect with your local organisations and support groups – there are plenty throughout Australia that offer all kinds of outdoor adventures. Consider reaching out to a new organisation in your area, introducing yourself, and signing up for the next group activity.

Winter nature activities to explore

Looking for some inspiration when it comes to spending time in nature this winter? Here are some activities that may pique your interest:

Nature trails.

If you live in an urban or major regional area, you’ll be surprised by how many trails are within day-trip distance from your home. Why not spend some time connecting with nature at an accessible trail you haven’t been to before? Some places even have cafes or kiosks so you can enjoy the fresh air before a well-deserved hot chocolate on the other side.

National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia also keep a list of accessible parks on their website, along with information about special wheelchairs and trikes that you can hire.

Wildlife watching or birdwatching.

In winter, you’ll find many different birds and animals in their natural habitats – some even more so than in summer! For avid wildlife fans, this is a great opportunity to make the most of accessible wildlife viewing areas. For instance, Cleland Wildlife Park or Gorge Wildlife Park are both close to Adelaide and are well-known for their wildlife encounters.

Make an indoor activity an outdoor activity.

Engrossed in a great book? Enjoying a podcast? Many traditionally indoor hobbies and activities can be enjoyed outside. By changing up the scenery, you can put a new spin on the activities you love.

By enjoying accessible nature activities all year round, you can support your physical, mental and emotional health through the colder months.

Our Lifestyle Attendants provide personal and community support to assist our customers with daily activities. If you’re looking for support to make the most of the changing seasons, contact us today!