Retirement can be a strange adjustment. The stark difference between working full time and having nothing but free time can be jarring, but it’s also full of opportunities. Think of all the things you wanted to do throughout the years. Well, now is your time to get on them. Hobbies for seniors are an easy path to a sense of fulfillment and wellbeing and will ensure your days at home are positive and full.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Science will back us up. Studies have found an association between enjoyable leisure activities and psychological and physical well-being. People who frequently engage in hobbies they love tend to live longer and experience less severe disease and illness. Hobbies for seniors are what the doctor is ordering and that’s great news because, let’s face it, we didn’t work hard all our lives just to do nothing with all this free time, did we?
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So, now that we know we should be taking up hobbies for the sake of our health and wellbeing, how can we go about choosing one? Researchers have found that choosing the right activity can reduce stress and improve your health, so select a hobby that really suits you.
To start, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions so you can narrow down the list of options. Here is a quick list of ideas to get you thinking:
The answers to these questions will help make some options stand out more than others, ultimately making your decision easier. They’ll also help you pinpoint a section of our list of hobbies below so you can find ideas that truly resonate with you.
Hobbies for seniors to do at home are always the easiest to pick up when we have spare time. There’s no need to make sure the car is fueled up, nor are there any time frames to stick to and you could even enjoy these home hobbies for seniors in your favorite set of pajamas and slippers. Activities you can take part in at home are good all year round, relatively inexpensive and enable you to finally sit back and enjoy the home you’ve built for yourself. Let’s take a look at some hobby ideas for seniors at home:
If you had a look at everyone’s bucket list, writing a novel would be on a vast majority of them, but that’s not the only way to enjoy writing. Journaling your thoughts and experiences for no one’s eyes but your own can also be a fulfilling way to spend your time. You can get an immense amount of enjoyment out of picking up all those books you meant to read over the years but had no time for, as well. Maybe you want to go back and read the Lord of the Rings trilogy for some youthful fun or perhaps you’re ready to tackle Finnegan’s Wake with all your free time. Magazines, news articles and blogs are also great reading material that can fill your time with enjoyment and intellectual stimulation. As a bonus, both reading and writing have been shown to help maintain a healthy and active brain!
Cooking is the perfect hobby for givers because they can put time and effort into something that others will enjoy. Who doesn’t love the sizzle and scent of something delicious cooking on the stove? Combined with learning about nutrition and healthful eating, cooking can also come with a tremendous amount of health benefits. Poring over old cookbooks and perfecting your recipes can be a fulfilling hobby that is great for your mind and body.
Models aren’t just for kids. In fact, the intricate details of miniature models are perfect for a mature adult who has had time to fully embrace the power of patience. Crafting models takes time, focus and a steady hand and each step in the process is a workout for our creativity, imagination, motor skills and our mind in general. This hobby comes with a sense of accomplishment and the ability to strike awe in the hearts of our grandkids when they come to visit.
Puzzles are one of the best indoor hobbies for seniors and an activity that can easily be enjoyed by more than one person together. A great mind-bending puzzle is a great way to get some quality, peaceful time with your spouse or partner. Brew a nice cup of tea, wrap yourself in a cozy robe and dump out the pieces by a roaring fire. Among the top winter hobbies for seniors, it doesn’t get much more enjoyable than that.
Of course, there are also great solo puzzles to conquer like Sudoku and crosswords that are an excellent workout for our cognitive muscles, which will keep our wetware in tip-top shape.
All three of these hobbies are, like writing, the sorts of hobbies you may have felt passionate about your entire life but never had time to tackle. Well, now you have the time. If you love painting, search for some painting tutorials on YouTube and practice, and watch your skills improve over time. Drawing or sketching are equally as fulfilling, and music might require a few dollars and some equipment to get started but that’s why we worked so hard for so long, isn’t it? Share your creations online, get some feedback and improve your abilities. All of these are a great way to spend your time.
Outdoor hobbies are among the most popular hobbies for seniors and for those who could never resist an amazing view or a warm breeze on a summer afternoon. People who love the feeling of fresh air in their lungs and sun on their skin are going to get the most out of outdoor hobbies, but scientists say we can all benefit from a little time outside. Here are some outdoor hobby ideas for seniors:
Gardening is fulfilling in so many ways. Not only do you get the benefit of some fresh air, but you get to reap what you've sewn with your own hands. Grow beautiful flowers to add to your home’s landscaping or cultivate delicious produce. This hobby can go hand in hand with cooking, as you grow irresistibly delicious fruits, veggies and herbs for your own recipes. And wouldn’t you know it? Researchers also say gardening is great for your mental health!
Hiking is a wonderful way to get your daily dose of physical activity while enjoying the great outdoors. Considered a cardio workout, hiking is good for your heart and blood pressure. Studies also confirm hiking helps to maintain a healthy body weight and it boosts the state of our mental wellbeing. Nothing beats the feeling of a breathtaking view or spotting a ten point buck off in the distance. The health benefits of hiking are many, making this one the most enjoyable hobbies that are great for your body and mind.
When we were busy working our 9-5s, we often complained that we didn’t get enough vacation time. If you love being outdoors and basking in the woods, not enough time off usually meant you didn’t get enough time to camp. Well, you have time now with the added bonus that you can book your camping trips when everyone else is at work and school! Choose to take road trips in an RV or pitch a tent next to a tranquil lake and enjoy the peace you’ve earned.
Birdwatching is the act of tracking down, observing and learning about the birds around us and is an incredibly peaceful activity. This hobby helps you practice mindfulness and brings calm and serenity to an often chaotic world. Being in nature and enjoying wildlife is known to be great for our mind, body and spirit as well. Just check out what these scientists have to say.
Beachcombing and metal detecting involve searching the beach after crowds have been there, trying to locate any valuables that were left behind. This can be a fulfilling hobby, not just because it gets you outdoors and on your feet, but also because you can help to reunite people with their lost valuables, giving you a great sense of accomplishment. Cash in on the unclaimed treasures you find, as well, and this hobby can easily pay for itself.
Some of us depend on the presence and support of our friends and neighbors and that doesn’t change when we retire. We may not be surrounded by kids and coworkers anymore but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the company of others. Studies tell us that social activities keep us young at heart and active well into our later years, so if you love to be around people, try on some of these social hobbies for seniors:
Book clubs are among the best hobbies for seniors and the perfect hobby for avid readers who love the company of others. The enjoyment of a good book is only compounded when we get to share that joy with others. As part of a book club, you’ll be introduced to books you may not have read otherwise, expanding your horizons and opening your mind. Reading also keeps our mind sharp and our body relaxed. If you can’t find a book club near you, then start one and get reading!
It is never too late to build on your skills and knowledge. Classes are available online and all around you and offer a deeper dive into just about any topic. History, art, science and math might be right up your alley. You can even take classes to learn more about some of your other hobbies, like gardening, cooking, painting and more. Plus, learning is another enjoyable way to keep your mind strong.
In many communities, groups form around many hobbies. For instance, you might be able to find a local potter’s guild through which you can meet other people who love pottery. There might be a quilting organization in your city or town where you can trade tips and tricks with other people who love to quilt. Whatever your hobby might be, there’s probably a group for it somewhere. You can start by searching Facebook for local groups or Meetup.com in your area.
There are so many benefits to learning a new language beyond the ability to communicate with more people. From improved memory function to boosting your problem solving skills, language learning keeps your brain as sharp as a twenty-something’s. Plus, with countless language learning apps to choose from, it’s easy to get started learning just about any language. Learning a language can help when you travel, and impresses your friends and family. Plus, it can open up a whole new world of literature.
If you have a love of food, wine and good company, search Facebook or Meetup.com for local food and wine groups. Food and wine groups are everywhere, even in smaller towns. Some groups include trained chefs, others might include knowledgeable sommeliers, so these groups can be a doorway to learning more about food and wine. With your newfound friends, you can organize cookouts, wine tastings, winery tours and restaurant outings. Explore new flavors, taste new wines and talk about it all with likeminded people.
With your spouse by your side, hobbies can be even more delightful. Though we don’t have to tell you that sharing some interests is great for your relationship, psychologists do stress the importance of sharing interests with your significant other, as it strengthens the bonds of the relationship. There are so many hobbies to choose from that are easy to do as a couple. Let’s take a look at some of them:
Now that you’re retired, you have all the time in the world to go to all the places on your bucket list. Traveling with your partner by your side makes it safer and ensures you get to share every awe-inspiring moment with someone you love. Whether your travel wishes include exotic places and long plane rides, or short road trips to the next state over, traveling can be a fantastic way to spend your time with your spouse. Plus, now that you’re a senior, you can officially cash in on all the discounts afforded to the 65+ crowd and book your vacations in adults only resorts for added peace and tranquility.
If you’ve always wanted to learn to dance, it’s easier to achieve if you have a dedicated partner learning by your side. Moving your body to the music is great for your mind and spirit. Dancing is also a cardio workout that is wonderful for your heart health, your blood pressure and for keeping those aches and pains at bay. Regular dance lessons will help keep your muscles and bones strong, ensuring your mobility for many years to come.
Millions of pets need adopting across the United States of America every day. Providing a loving home to a creature in need can be a fulfilling way to engage that need to care for someone. Decades of research consistently shows that caring for a pet comes with a myriad of health benefits, as well. Your relationship with your pet may reduce stress and blood pressure, and our fur babies can boost our immune system, provide great reasons to get out for a walk, and can bring much needed companionship for seniors.
Whether you’re a lover of card games, board games, video games or golf, games keep the mind functioning in tip top shape. Though there are many games you can play solo, the benefits you get from playing games with a loved one are many. You can keep stress at bay and strengthen your relationship by sharing your favorite board games and even playing video games together. Games are always an exceptional bonding experience, and you’re never too old to build on that connection with the love of your life.
Exploring our history in museums and galleries or enjoying the sights and sounds that parks have to offer are all perfect ways to get out of the house and relish the company of someone you love. Take in the art of our culture or explore the awe-inspiring species who came before us. All of these outings and experiences are more fun when we can share the appreciation with likeminded people.
Single seniors can have just as much fun as retired couples and get just as many benefits from adopting a hobby as those who live with a partner. In fact, some studies suggest that single people might find more value in hobbies than people who are married or in a committed relationship. Here are some fulfilling hobbies that you can do solo:
Photography is an artform that triggers the creative center of our brain and anything that gets those creative juices flowing is great for the spirit and the health of our minds. Research suggests that those who engage in creative pursuits feel more relaxed, in control, have reduced anxiety and depression and improved cognition. Photography can also be an inexpensive undertaking if you already own a camera. So get out there and snap some photos!
Collections can trigger strong feelings of nostalgia and provide goals to reach that induce a sense of accomplishment. Plus, they can be an investment. Almost anything can be a collectible as well, from serving dishes to hockey cards. In the age of the internet, there aren’t many things you can collect that don’t have their own online community, which can bring a social aspect to your collecting efforts, too.
Hitting old curiosity shops and digging through relics of the past can fill your days with wonder and mystery. Add another element to antiquing by restoring some of the artifacts you find or writing and producing YouTube or TikTok videos about them. Each new treasure can send you down a rabbit hole looking for its origins and learning about humans of the past along the way. A truly fulfilling hobby, antiquing is a favorite among many age groups.
There is nothing quite like getting away from the sights and sounds of the city and rocking gently on the water in peace waiting for the fish to bite. Some liken it to meditation, while others enjoy the competition of it, but either way, fishing gets you outside and away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Be sure to check with your state for your local licensing laws and then get on that water!
Bicycling comes with so many benefits including improved overall health, a stronger heart, better blood pressure and increased mobility. Even the easiest cycling routes help your muscles and bones remain strong, improve your joint mobility and decrease your body fat. It’s also a joy to feel the wind in your hair and the oxygen in your blood. In most areas it’s easy to find a used bike online, so this can be an affordable hobby on top of being great for you.
There is no shame in being a tech lover and with more new gadgets coming out and the internet expanding every day, it’s easy to find something you enjoy amongst all of it. Online hobbies are easy hobbies for seniors and are great for those of us who have limited mobility or want to keep the cost of our hobbies to a minimum. They are easy, cheap and can be incredibly enjoyable. Here are some suggestions:
Podcasts are all the rage on the internet right now and you’d be hard pressed to find a topic that isn’t covered in at least one. Whether you’re into true crime, history, politics, sports or any other topic, there are bingeable shows to consume with your favorite app. What’s more, if you have a mic and some software you can easily record and publish your own podcast. Start by browsing Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, find a show that interests you and enjoy.
Genealogy is the process of hunting down records to confirm and fill out your family tree. Before the internet, such research meant scanning microfiche at the library and scouring paper records in your county records office. Now, with the internet, most of these records and archives have been digitized and are searchable. You can find death records and marriage certificates, ship manifests and employment details and all of this information can help you learn more about your family tree and where you came from. Begin by checking out Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org and get ready to fall down a rabbit hole!
While many reduce social media to oversharing and posting photos of your food, there are loads of places to connect with likeminded people and find honest and genuine discussion. Whether you love to watch short videos on TikTok or prefer the political discussions on Reddit, there is probably an online community out there you will enjoy. Social media apps are incredibly good at curating what you see so that everything falls in line with your interests. Start by downloading a social media app and get browsing.
Playing games online doesn’t have the best reputation but the science can’t be ignored. Research has found that online gaming comes with health benefits for many. Strategy games improve cognition and mental health and other online games have the ability to keep our memory sharp, which is important in our later years. As a bonus, you can play games online with other players and make this hobby a social pursuit as well. Playing games is a youthful pursuit and helps us feel young at heart, as well.
Youtube has become so incredibly massive that there is content for every genre and subgenre you can possibly think of. There is something for everyone on YouTube. If you love watching DIY building projects, cooking shows, political commentary or celebrity gossip, it’s all there for you. True crime, comedy skits and variety shows are abundant. Watch travel vlogs, follow along with families as their kids grow or devour unboxing videos to your heart’s content. You can even pull out your webcam and shoot your own videos to share on YouTube, as well.
A steady regimen of physical activity in your life is the best way to stay healthy, mobile and sharp. Calming and meditative activities keep our stress levels down and are great for our heart, blood pressure and overall mental health. Many seniors become increasingly interested in a healthy lifestyle when they retire, so here are some excellent hobbies to keep your mind and body in great shape:
Yoga is a form of exercise that involves stretching and rhythmic breathing. It is particularly beneficial for seniors and has been proven to strengthen the back muscles, increase mobility, and reduce the likelihood of falls. It’s also been shown to improve our cognitive function, our balance and flexibility and our ability to catch a great night’s sleep. Yoga is more than just stretching. This discipline includes regulated breathing and meditative qualities that bring calm and tranquility to our lives.
Tai Chi is technically a martial art and involves a series of movements to get your blood flowing, bring calm and relaxation and to bring focus and energy to the rest of your day. Research suggests this ancient Chinese practice has benefits for your bone density, heart and lung health, mobility, strength and balance. It is also recognized as having the ability to improve your overall quality of life.
Globally recognized as one of the best full body workouts, swimming can keep your muscles fit, your body toned and is a great source of a cardio workout to improve heart health. Even if you’re a slow swimmer, you’re getting an immense amount of benefit from a few laps in the pool. Most community pools offer lane swimming multiple times per day, so start by checking their schedule.
Golfing is a low-intensity physical activity that can be a social outing as well. Studies have found that golfing regularly can extend your life. While often considered an expensive hobby, golfing can also be quite affordable when you equip yourself with second hand gear or rent what you need from your favorite course. Leave the golf cart behind and you’ll get a thorough cardio workout walking from hole to hole.
Meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety as our fears tend to come from thinking about the past or the future. Mediation is designed to bring your focus to the present, eliminating the majority of our anxieties as we practice it. Peace and calm come from regular meditation and it’s easier than ever to get started. There are countless apps, websites and videos available to get you going on your meditation journey.
When we get involved in our community, it brings a tremendous sense of belonging which can be an invaluable benefit for empty nesters and recent retirees. Our lives used to center around work and kids, both of which are meaningful pursuits. If you’re looking to fill your time with something just as meaningful, spending time in your community could be the answer. Here are some ideas on how to do that:
Most nonprofit organizations are in desperate need of volunteers which means you can take your pick of issues and initiatives to get involved in. Perhaps you’d like to help organize food at the local food bank or maybe you can share your love of animals by caring for the pets in a nearby shelter. Volunteerism has been known to improve our quality of life in many ways, so why not help a worthy organization and reap the rewards?
Like volunteers, most not for profit organizations also need help fundraising. It is one of the most difficult aspects of charity and help in this department is often welcome. The best part about deciding to fundraise for a worthy non-profit is that you get to pick the issues that matter to you and focus on bringing awareness and funds to them. This endeavor is incredibly rewarding and can bring an immense sense of purpose to idle time.
Many groups and organizations need assistance and expertise in leadership and serving on a board can help accomplish that for them. You’ll get the opportunity to help shape initiatives in your community and bring good to the people, animals and places in your neighborhood. For those who want to leave the world better than they found it, this is the perfect way to serve in your retirement.
One of the most profound ways to build your legacy is to impart your knowledge and skills to the next generation. You’ve lived a full life, experienced and learned a lot, and your wisdom and knowledge can benefit those who are just starting out. You can mentor a child or an up and coming talent in your area of expertise, or choose to instruct a class on one of your favorite topics. You can usually get started doing this by reaching out to your local community center and offering to teach a class.
Advocating for a group of people, a cause or a policy is immensely fulfilling. Spending your time raising awareness for important issues in your community is one way that you can ensure your life has had a positive impact on the world. Get started by contacting some local advocacy groups and ask how you can get involved.
The list of great hobbies for seniors is endless and we could write about them forever, but this is a solid starting point. Trying one or two of the hobbies on this list could lead the way to discovering another activity you love that we haven’t mentioned. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Get started today and try a few of these activities that interest you. You’ll start filling your time with enjoyment and purpose. Happy hobbying!
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