Increasing hours of daylight, new growth, changing colours and fresh smells will all serve to create the possibility of a brand new feel-good-factor. So how can you enjoy the great outdoors this springtime? Here are a few great suggestions.

Visit a sensory garden

01We can all enjoy a lovely garden, but the experience can be enhanced by clever use of landscaping, along with other garden materials and features selected for their appeal to the senses. This can offer a more therapeutic experience to people with different needs from partially sighted and blind adults to children with additional needs.

Spring is a wonderful time to feel the real benefit of a glorious garden, from listening to trickling water to picking up a distinctive scent. Being able to touch certain plants and rock formations, feeling the cool under the shade of a tree or sitting in a relaxing place have beneficial effects on the psyche.

www.ableize.com

 

Serene sailing

02Sailing is a fantastic activity for disabled people, offering a superb all-round physical and mental experience.

It also provides an opportunity to learn new skills, including working as part of a team.

www.disabledsailingassociation.org.uk

 

Birdsong

bef4a1421cb273f41200d6d374a2b535This can be a delightful pastime for blind or visually impaired people, though anyone can enjoy either listening to, or watching our feathered friends at close quarters.

A good reserve will have ramps, tap rails and loop systems along with movable benches of different heights and viewing slots in their hides. It can be greatly therapeutic and relaxing.

www.birdingforall.com

 

Art therapy

03A wonderful way to express feelings and emotions – even more-so perhaps for people who struggle to articulate themselves in other ways – it’s ideal for people with intellectual disabilities. The better weather offers the chance of some outdoor watercolour or fabric painting, crafting or even photography.

The changing seasons will undoubtedly prove inspirational.

www.baat.org

 

Music

04Music therapy is a great way of improving physical, emotional and mental health, whether through playing the simplest of instruments, singing or clapping along.

Several research studies have found that rhythm stimulates a person’s muscle responses, and can help to improve the body’s immune system function and limits stress levels by reducing cortisol.

www.bamt.org

 

Cycling

10A wide range of cycles, including those with two, three and four wheels means that cycling can be enjoyed by a variety of differently able people. Perhaps you’ll select an electro-drive attachment – for when you need to tackle those tougher inclines.

Cycling can help the joints, muscles and facilitate freedom of movement.

www.wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk

 

Horse riding

06Spring is an excellent time to take up horse riding, and there are numerous Riding for the Disabled Association centres ready to welcome disabled people of all ages. Research undertaken by the RDA showed that after just 12 weeks, 65% of individuals demonstrated improved communication, with 74% becoming physically stronger.

According to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation, autistic children can build a close bond with an animal. They associate the care they provide to the horse with feelings as they construct an emotional bridge, helping the child to improve communication skills and assisting in benefiting learning and personal development.

www.rda.org.uk

 

Fishing

16This is one of the most popular pastimes in the UK with the British Disabled Angling Association opening up fantastic access and facilities across the UK. A recent NHS research study in Scotland, has shown angling outdoors is effective at relieving stress and improving mental outlook, creativity and cognitive function.

It can also help improve both motor skills and attention span due to the movement and concentration involved, and there are now a variety of aids available to help with gripping fishing rods and nets.

www.bdaa.co.uk

 

Nature walks

08For children with physical, mental, intellectual or sensory disabilities, a walk within a natural environment can provide plenty of benefits. Both looking at and listening to wildlife can be a joy.Pointing out animals and plants and talking about the scenery will keep people engrossed. It’s also a great way of gently exercising.

www.forestry.gov.uk

 

Meditation

18Focusing on breathing can help the body in all sorts of different ways, and there are many varying techniques to choose from. This is becoming extremely popular with elderly people and those that experience ongoing pain. With practise it has been shown to improve a person’s general wellbeing.

www.bemindful.co.uk

Both recent NHS and scientific research has shown that when disabled people take part in organised, adapted or personal recreational activities, quality of life can be enhanced. Self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy can all be boosted as a result.

So what are you waiting for?