The Golden Years – The time in our lives that personal satisfaction takes precedence over daily responsibilities. A time for relaxation, self expression, entertainment and reflection on the life you’ve lived. However; relaxing without work to go back too may sound a bit scary and new, but as a matter of fact, there are many things you can do stay healthy and entertained. Recent studies show that that the key to longevity is mental, social, and physical activity. Now with all this extra free time on your hands what are some of the best hobbies & activities to keep yourself busy?
Trusted Living Care has put together the top 10 hobbies & activities to keep you, or your loved one happy, healthy, and energized.
The first years of retirement offer the perfect opportunity to travel the world whether close to home, or the other side of the globe. The best part about traveling is seeing things you never have before, it can truly be an eye opening experience. Keep in mind that today’s travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as before if you plan accordingly. Traveling keeps you busy mentally, physically, and socially as well – touching on all the aspects needed for longevity! If your loved one has experienced some sort of cognitive decline make sure they are accompanied by friends, family or spouse to ensure safety.
Taking care of a pet
Having a pet to love and care for creates an inseparable emotional bond. This bond keeps you mentally active and possibly helps to keep you on a routine such as feeding, playing and walking them. It’s also said that pets provide a comfort system and produce a chemical reaction in the brain that help lower levels of the stress inducing hormone, cortisol and increase the production of serotonin.
Dating and social gatherings
Finding romance at any stage in life can be complicated, but older singles face additional hurdles. Many seniors who are divorced, widowed or simply single – don’t want to spend retirement alone. Finding romance later in life may be just what you or your loved one needs. There are many online dating apps and events specifically for single seniors who may be potentially experiencing the same struggles and challenges you or your loved one may be facing.
Cooking and baking
Cooking and baking is one of the best pastimes for retirees. It’s a craft you can never perfect, always challenging, and everyone enjoys the fruits of your labors! Cooking and baking can be lots of fun if you take time to enjoy it, especially when you cook or bake something you can’t wait to eat! This also creates more enjoyment during the cooking process as well. Baking goods to give to loved ones or neighbors is rewarding as well and all these gestures will be greatly appreciated.
Golfing is a great way to stay physically and mentally active (if you’re the competitive type). One of the great aspects of golf is that it can be much easier on the body than other sports. It has many health benefits such as improving flexibility, ease of motion and strength. Golfing is a favorite for many seniors, and you can see why – it’s an excellent hobby to keep through the years that provides not only satisfaction, but also helps seniors keep hand-eye coordination and improves mood.
Gardening has many health and therapeutic benefits for older people. It’s not only an enjoyable form of exercise, it also increases levels of physical activity and helps increase seniors’ mobility. It encourages the use of motor skills while improving endurance and strength and even reduces stress levels by promoting relaxation. Gardening also provides stimulation and interest in nature and the outdoors. Many senior living communities offer gardening clubs for residents as a hobby because it helps promote happiness. Here are some suggestions when looking to take the first steps with starting your own vegetable garden.
(The following suggestions were chosen with season and complexity in mind to be an ideal starting point for a new vegetable garden.)
- Carrots: Ensure you have a deep plot of soil with minimal rocks, carrots are a great vegetable for your garden. Plant your carrots in late spring (May and June) to harvest late summer all through the fall. One great quality of carrots is that it’s easy to tell when they’re ready for harvesting by when their tops breach the soil line.
- Lettuce: Though there are lots of variations, lettuce is generally an easy plant to grow and maintain. You can plant throughout the spring and summer and enjoy harvesting all through the summer and fall.
- Herbs: Perhaps one of the easiest edibles to plant and grow successfully, herbs are great for flavoring your cooking and are hearty enough to last through colder months, especially if potted and brought inside. Try rosemary, mint, and basil to start.
- Spinach: In addition to being incredibly good for you, spinach is also a relatively simple plant to grow and maintain. Once its leaves get to a reasonable size, you can begin harvesting continually, which will promote new growth.
- Radishes: Though they certainly aren’t what one would call a “popular” vegetable, radishes are a beginning gardener’s best friends. They grow quickly and have high yield, so the reward will be quick and plentiful.
- Summer Squash: Another vegetable with a high yield is summer squash. As long as you ensure your squashes are protected from the wind, you can manage to feed an entire family on just a few plants.
- Tomatoes: Look for starter plants at your local nursery or home improvement store. If you plant in the spring, well-sunned tomato plants can produce all through the summer.
Walks / Walking Clubs
Regular walking, a favorite exercise for senior citizens, is one of the most effective forms of physical activity that delivers substantial health benefits and improves heart health, says the American Heart Association. Many walking clubs provide a safe and effective lifestyle intervention to prevent heart disease and stroke. Find out to see if there is a walking club near you – if not, maybe consider starting one. With today’s technology staring a club online is very simple & fun to do!
Swimming is one of the best senior activities to do for many reasons. One of them is being able to exercise while taking pressure off your joints especially with those suffering from osteoarthritis. Swimming regularly can also help improve not only your cardiovascular fitness and flexibility, but also gain greater muscle tone and better posture.
Not to mention swimming is a lot of fun! Whether challenging your friends, or leisurely laps, both are positive ways to boost energy through natural fitness endorphins.
Teaching or volunteering
What better way to spend time than to pass your years of knowledge down to those younger than you. If you or your loved one is still able to teach and does not suffer from cognitive decline, teaching or volunteering is a great way to stay mentally active and benefits those around you. Adult education programs are frequently looking for part-time evening instructors for hobbies such as knitting, baking, and other types of courses. One of the natural benefits of volunteering or teaching is staying engaged with your local community. Feeling helpful is an important human emotion that helps keep seniors stimulated rather than depressed or bored in the monotonous day-to-day that can happen in the latter years.
Don’t forget your bucket list! Ever since Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman set off on a road trip to tick off all the things they wanted to do before they ‘kicked the bucket’ in the 2007 film, ‘The Bucket List’, people of all ages have been making their very own lists of things they want to do. The pair had skydiving, visiting the Taj Mahal, kissing the most beautiful girl in the world, laughing until they cried, driving a Shelby Mustang, eating dinner at the Chevre d’or, flying over the North Pole and more. You can include big and small goals on your list.
Creating a bucket list helps you focus on what you really want out of life and to help motivate yourself to go after it. It’s never too late to start one, start tallying off an old bucket list today, or create a new one and get going.
Great Hobbies for Retirement
All in all, retirement can be a time of fun, relaxation, and productivity. Some of these ten hobbies for retirees will probably be more practical and appeal more than others, but there should be at least something for everyone. Whether you take up golf or start on your vegetable garden, you can enrich your own golden years with many fun activities during retirement.