Feeling the sun’s warmth in the crisp spring air. Finding serenity under a shady oak or beside a still pond. Listening to the chirping birds, the wind in the trees, and the sounds of life around you.

In a world where almost everyone needs to move more, sit less, and spend more time in nature, it’s no surprise that outdoor fitness plays a big role in lifelong wellness. While there’s little practical difference between 30 minutes on a treadmill and half an hour’s hike, one can be far more pleasant – and, experts say, possibly more beneficial.

“When you’re moving your body, your heart, lungs and muscles don’t know or care where you are. But your mind does,” says Dr. Edward Phillips for Harvard Health. “Some people say it’s hard to rack up 7,000 steps a day … but they often find they can go twice as far on a hike, especially if there’s a nice vista at the destination.”

Adding to the benefits of extra exercise, time outdoors has been shown to reduce stress and improve heart health – primarily by lowering cortisol levels and blood pressure – while also improving focus, memory and problem-solving. (A little bit of sunshine is also a good way to get vitamin D.)

Another great way to make exercise feel effortless is to incorporate it into your routine. In many of the world’s healthiest nations – Iceland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Japan – exercise isn’t about going to the gym, but rather constant activity throughout the day: walking to the train station, harvesting fresh vegetables in the garden, or socializing during a dinnertime stroll (la passeggiata, as Italians call it.)

Even in the U.S. – a nation not known for its walkable neighborhoods – emerging research on the benefits of outdoor exercise is beginning to spark change. One 2023 study found that simply living in a community that’s easier to traverse on foot is associated with higher physical activity and a lower body mass index (BMI), an indicator of healthy weight.

Here at The Mayflower, we’ve always believed that a big-picture approach to health and happiness is the key to lifelong wellness. And that starts at our picturesque Winter Park campus, where our scenic walking paths and ponds offer an escape into nature, and our maintenance-free community provides everything you need within walking distance.

“I fell in love with The Mayflower,” says resident Lawrie Hall. “From the walkable campus to the Fitness Center to the yoga classes, the exercise options here are absolutely astonishing. There’s vitality all around you.”

As Winter Park’s premier senior living community, The Mayflower is more than just a place to live: It’s a lifestyle that empowers you to live life to the fullest. When you’re ready to take the next step towards a healthier, happier future, give us a call at 407.672.1620 or send us a message – we look forward to hearing from you!