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18 Hobbies for Seniors During Retirement

Summary: Having a hobby during retirement can help reduce stress, improve mental health, and create lasting connections with friends and family members. We provide 18 essential hobbies for seniors. Estimated Read Time: 14 mins

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Table of Contents:

  1. Hobbies for Retirees
  2. Social Hobbies
  3. Outdoor Hobbies
  4. Creative Hobbies
  5. Brain Booster Hobbies
  6. Cultural Hobbies
  7. How Hobbies in Retirement Affect your Mental Health
  8. Hobbies are Good for Your Physical Health
  9. Get Medicare for Traveling Abroad

Once you retire, you end up with a lot of free time that you may not have had before. Many retirees don’t know what to do with themselves if they’re not working or caring for family.

However, your retirement years can finally be a time to do something for yourself. Maybe there’s somewhere you always wanted to go or a skill you’ve always wanted to learn. There’s no time like the present, and there are a lot of benefits to taking up a hobby or two in your golden years. We will share some things to do in retirement and the personal benefits of having hobbies during retirement. Hopefully, you’ll get inspired to start (or rediscover) one of these hobbies for yourself.

Hobbies for Retirees

Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of having hobbies during retirement, you’re probably wondering what are good hobbies for retirees. The answer is it depends. There are plenty of hobbies out there for older adults of all personalities and for all budgets. You just need to find one, or even ten, that you like and keep at it. Here are some suggestions for popular retirement hobbies you can have fun with.

Social Hobbies

Loneliness is an epidemic, especially among seniors. Nearly a quarter of adults aged 65 and older consider themselves to be socially isolated. Nobody likes feeling lonely, but as mentioned earlier, it’s especially dangerous for seniors as it’s linked to higher levels of depression and even dementia.

It can be tough to make new friends at any stage of adulthood after college. However, it’s extra hard for those in retirement who no longer have the regular social aspect of the workplace, and it’s twice as hard for single older adults.

Having social hobbies during retirement can help ease loneliness. Any kind of hobby that involves having a regular meeting, whether it’s once a week or once a month, can help you meet new people. You’ll already have something in common! Here are a few examples of social hobbies to get involved in.

1. Join a Club

Book clubs are especially popular amongst older adults. If you already love to read and were just looking for an excuse to finally get around to it, a book club could be perfect for you. There are also craft clubs, puzzle clubs, and many more you can find locally through Facebook, libraries, and neighborhood websites. These clubs meet anywhere from libraries to cafes to churches, and some hold them in their homes. No matter what kind of club you want to join, it’s a great way to make a new friend.

2. Volunteer at an Organization

Doing regular volunteer work isn’t just a great way to help your community; it’s a fantastic way to meet people in your community. There are many volunteer opportunities at animal shelters, food pantries, thrift stores, environmental organizations, political organizations, and many more nonprofits.

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A good way to find local volunteer opportunities is with Volunteer Match. There are plenty of ways to help make a difference while also making new friends.

3. Take a Class

We should all strive to be lifelong learners. What better way than to take a class in a subject you’ve always wanted to know more about but could never find the time? It’s also a good way to keep your mind sharp while building your knowledge. People often linger after class to discuss the topic, which is a great opportunity to meet your classmates.

You can take a class held by your local library or find free in-person classes held elsewhere online. Some local colleges and universities even allow seniors to audit classes for free. Just be sure to check before you show up for class.

4. Attend a Game Night

There’s a reason seniors love bingo: it’s a social event as well as a fun game. If bingo isn’t your thing though, many local bars host trivia nights. Look for other game night events through Facebook or community bulletin boards.

Outdoor Hobbies

If you love the great outdoors, there’s no shortage of activities. Whether you’re looking for more physical hobbies during retirement to be fit and active, or you just want to relax outside, there’s something for you to enjoy.

5. Gardening

Gardening is a very fulfilling hobby to take part in. You get to nurture life, help the environment, and save money by growing your own food. It’s also a low-impact activity that you can do for just 30 minutes a day to meet your physical activity needs. Plus, it’s an excellent way to improve your mood just by doing a fun outside activity surrounded by colorful plants and nature. To top it all off, gardening can also be a social activity, allowing you to share tips and produce with neighbors and friends, fostering a sense of community.

6. Hiking

Hiking is an excellent hobby for you to get exercise and enjoy nature. It’s considered cardio exercise, which is known to be good for your blood pressure and preventing heart disease. You don’t have to hike up a big mountain. There are numerous local parks with shorter, flatter trails where you can walk at a leisurely pace and take in the scenic views.

7. Swimming

Going for a swim is a great way to maintain your fitness. Swimming is a low-impact, full-body cardio exercise that can help keep your muscles strong and improve heart health. You don’t have to be a fast swimmer to see the health benefits; just doing a few laps is enough.

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It’s best to swim in a pool as opposed to an ocean or lake. You won’t have to worry about the dangers of riptides or fatal bacteria. There are even indoor pools you can access with a membership at many gyms or the YMCA so that you can keep your swimming hobby up in the winter.

8. Fishing

Fishing is a relaxing but exciting hobby that you can spend all day doing. There are so many different kinds of fish in different bodies of water, and it takes skill to learn how to catch them. There are also different fishing gear, bait, and techniques to catch certain types of fish. Fishers often bond with each other to learn from one another, so it’s not just a solitary hobby if you don’t want it to be.

9. Bird Watching

Bird watching is another soothing hobby. The idea is in the name. You just find, observe, and learn about all the different kinds of birds around you. Many bird watchers get up at dawn to observe the feathered friends over a nice cup of coffee. Bird watching is excellent for stress relief and your mental health since it helps you practice mindfulness.

Creative Hobbies

Everybody has an inner artist waiting for the chance to come out. Indulging in creative hobbies during retirement can positively affect your mental health and cognitive function. Learning new skills can help you reduce depression, anxiety, and stress. They may also be able to help improve your memory. Here are some hobbies where you can let your creative colors shine.

10. Arts & Crafts

There’s a reason painting and other forms of art are often used in therapy. It works! Studies have shown that making any kind of art can help ease anxiety. Some psychologists even compare doing arts and crafts to meditation. Creating art also helps with hand-eye coordination, and other studies have shown that art can improve neural functioning in your brain.

You can learn any form of art at any age. There are plenty of tutorials online and local art classes for seniors. Whether you decide to paint, draw, sculpt, or crochet, there’s no downside to taking on an artistic hobby.

11. Music

Entering retirement presents a great opportunity for you to learn to play a musical instrument. Learning to play an instrument engages various parts of your brain and helps to enhance your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Even better, if you can find a group of fellow music enthusiasts, you’ll not only fine-tune your musical talents but also ramp up your social interactions, giving your emotional well-being a significant boost.

Numerous community centers now offer music classes for seniors. Instruments like the ukulele, harmonica, and piano are popular choices among seniors due to their ease of learning and minimal mobility requirements.

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Whether you’re playing or just listening, music can help the emotional health and overall well-being of seniors by alleviating stress and anxiety. Now that’s something to sing about.

12. Writing

Have you always had ambitions of writing a novel? In retirement, there’s nothing stopping you. However, you don’t have to write the next great literary classic. You can write poems or songs or take up journaling and simply scribble down your thoughts.

A 2013 Neurology study says that writing can reduce the rate of age-related memory decline by 32%. Writing can also help you reduce your risk of falls by improving hand-eye coordination.

It doesn’t matter what you write, just that you have fun and feel a sense of accomplishment doing it.

Brain Booster Hobbies

In your golden years of retirement, maintaining cognitive vitality can become a priority. Engaging in brain-boosting hobbies during retirement not only keeps the mind sharp but also adds an element of enjoyment and fulfillment to this stage of life. Let’s explore a range of brain-boosting hobbies that can be a source of both mental nourishment and joy for seniors.

13. Reading

Do you have a pile of books you’ve been meaning to read but could never find the time? Maybe you’ve intended to visit your local library but still haven’t gone. There’s no time like your retirement years to catch up on your reading. You don’t even need to read entire books to keep your brain active. You can read news articles or blog posts to stay informed and feed your mind.

14. Solving Puzzles

Another fun, easily accessible way to get your brain going is solving puzzles. It also gives you a great sense of accomplishment when you finally solve one. Plus, puzzles are an excellent way to improve your memory and help lessen your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

You can have a fun afternoon with friends or date night with your partner to solve a large jigsaw puzzle. Or you could solve a puzzle like a crossword or Sudoku solo. Even doing the daily Wordle can boost your brain. The puzzling options are endless.

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15. Learning a New Language

It’s never too late to learn a new language. You can communicate with people from all different backgrounds while boosting your cognitive function. Research shows that bilingual seniors present Alzheimer’s symptoms an average of four years later than older adults who only speak one language. You can learn any language you want at your own pace through YouTube tutorials, online classes, and apps like Duolingo. Learning a new language is especially helpful if you want to travel the world during retirement.

Cultural Hobbies

If you’ve always wanted more culture in your life, your retirement years are the perfect time to see all the art and wonder the world has to offer. Many seniors take the time to travel and explore new places, learn about new cultures, and appreciate the arts because they never had the time before retirement. Taking up cultural hobbies during retirement can also help your cognitive health through learning and new experiences. Let’s delve into some potential new hobbies that can bring a sense of worldliness into your life.

16. Traveling

If traveling to different places is on your bucket list, you have plenty of time during retirement to finally see the world. There are multiple senior travel discounts for various flights, cruises, hotels, restaurants, car rental services, and attractions. Take advantage of the savings so you can treat yourself even more while you’re away from home.

Whether you hop on a place to travel abroad or you get in your car to see the sights in your neighboring state, traveling is a great way to broaden your horizons and get a sense of fulfillment.

17. Seeing Live Theatre

Seeing some live theatre is a great way to get some culture in your life. You don’t need to live near Broadway in New York City to take in a show. There are plenty of local community theaters where you can support the arts.

Many theatres offer senior discounts on tickets, so you don’t have to break the bank if you want to have a fun night out seeing a play, musical, opera, or ballet. Just don’t give yourself bad luck by saying the name of the Scottish play (Macbeth) once you’re inside the theatre.

18. Visiting Museums

Exploring our vast history at a museum can be a fantastic way to learn new things while getting your steps in.

A recent survey says many seniors have regularly attended museums and galleries over the past decade. Most museums offer discounted or even free admission for seniors, so it’s a low-budget way to spend the day. You don’t need to go to the Smithsonian or the Met to appreciate all that a museum offers. Many areas have smaller museums with just as much history to enjoy.

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How Hobbies in Retirement Affect Your Mental Health

According to a recent study, having a hobby can have a positive effect on your mental health. Taking up any kind of hobby may lessen symptoms of depression and lead to higher levels of happiness and an increased sense of life satisfaction.

The study surveyed over 90,000 people aged 65 and up from around the world. The improvements in mental health that came from having a hobby were almost universal. Researchers took into account cultural differences, income, and whether the participant was single or had a partner.

Engaging in hobbies during retirement can help you feel more satisfied with life by giving you a greater sense of purpose or fulfillment you may be missing since leaving the workforce. Regular activities from a hobby can feel rewarding, stimulating dopamine release in the brain and making you feel happy.

Furthermore, some hobbies come with a social aspect that can help with loneliness. Loneliness has a high risk for depression and is even linked to dementia in older adults. Joining a club or volunteering at a local organization can help you meet new people and ease loneliness.

Having hobbies during retirement can also help to keep your mind sharp by improving your cognition and memory. A hobby that encourages you to think and concentrate, such as solving puzzles, reading, or simply watching Jeopardy on a regular basis, can stimulate your brain and help slow cognitive decline.

Hobbies that encourage hand-eye coordination, such as gardening, fishing, or knitting, can also help cognition.

Promoting your mental wellness in your golden years is just as important as it was in any stage of your life, and picking up a hobby is a great way to do that.

Hobbies Can Help You Relieve Stress

When you’re having fun with a hobby, it can distract you from the things that cause stress in your life. A hobby can also make it less likely for you to turn to unhealthy methods of dealing with stress, such as smoking or alcohol.

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A 2009 NIH study shows that relaxing hobbies such as bird watching, meditation, or painting can help you reduce stress. The study found that hobbies can reduce stress by significantly lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And what better way to blow off steam than by doing something you love?

Hobbies are Good for Your Physical Health

Having a hobby can help keep you in shape physically as well as mentally. If you take part in active hobbies during retirement, such as swimming, yoga, or hiking, it can help prevent health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and muscle degeneration. Engaging in an active hobby can also help to improve your immune system health since regular activity may provide a barrier to chronic illness.

Hobbies that keep you fit and active can make you feel young and vital. It can also help you to maintain your independence well into your later years.

When taking on a new hobby, it is important to have adequate health coverage in place to insure no mishaps along the way. During your golden years, Medicare coverage is available to ensure you are covered from preventative care to emergency coverage. To compare your Medicare healthcare options, you can reach us at the number above or by completing our online form to see and compare plan rates in your area.

Sources

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Nature Medicine, Hobby engagement and mental wellbeing among people aged 65 years and older in 16 countries. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-023-02506-1
  2. Health, Hobbies Like Gardening, Fishing Can Boost Your Brain Health. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.health.com/hobbies-for-cognitive-health-7970193
  3. BMJ Journals, Relationships between cognitive leisure activities and cognitive function in older adults with depressive symptoms: a cross-sectional study. Accessed September 2023.
    https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/10/2/e032679
  4. National Library of Medicine, Association of Enjoyable Leisure Activities With Psychological and Physical Well-Being. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2863117/
  5. CDC, Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html
  6. Science Daily, Gardening Provides Recommended Physical Activity For Older Adults. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229104702.htm
  7. National Library of Medicine, The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health: A Review of Current Literature. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804629/
  8. PLOS One, How Art Changes Your Brain: Differential Effects of Visual Art Production and Cognitive Art Evaluation on Functional Brain Connectivity. Accessed September 2023.
    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101035
  9. Neurology, Life-span cognitive activity, neuropathologic burden, and cognitive aging. Accessed September 2023.
    https://n.neurology.org/content/81/4/314
  10. Cambridge University Press, Cognitive leisure activities and future risk of cognitive impairment and dementia: systematic review and meta-analysis. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/international-psychogeriatrics/article/cognitive-leisure-activities-and-future-risk-of-cognitive-impairment-and-dementia-systematic-review-and-metaanalysis/62DC1367E760A45970FE207859D69E45
  11. The University of Edinburgh, The impact of bilinguism on cognitive aging and dementia. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.pure.ed.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/21840512/Bak_LAB_2016_The_impact_of_bilingualism_on_cognitive_aging.pdf
  12. National Endowment for the Arts, A decade of arts engagement: findings from the survey of public participation in the arts, 2002–2012. Accessed September 2023.
    https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/2012-sppa-feb2015.pdf
Kayla Hopkins

Kayla Hopkins

Content Editor
Kayla Hopkins is an accomplished writer and Medicare guru serving as the Editor of MedicareFAQ.com. Upon completing her Communications degree from Ohio University, Kayla dedicated her time to understanding the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare. With her extensive background as a Licensed Insurance Agent, she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her writing.
Ashlee Zareczny

Ashlee Zareczny

Compliance Manager
Ashlee Zareczny is the Compliance Manager for MedicareFAQ. As a licensed Medicare agent in all 50 states, she is dedicated to educating those eligible for Medicare by providing the necessary resources and tools. Additionally, Ashlee trains new and tenured Medicare agents on CMS compliance guidelines. Ashlee is a Medicare expert who specializes in Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D education.

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