Are you living in retirement and finding that you don’t have much to do? Now that you’ve got so much free time on your hands, you may be considering picking up a new hobby. In retirement, it’s important to avoid boredom and loneliness and to remain social. Having a hobby is a great solution, and can help seniors feel more joy and peace in their daily lives.
Why You Should Become Involved in a Hobby
Hobbies are beneficial to the mind and the body, as they bring relaxation and joy to those who partake. Picking up a new hobby can be a great way to express yourself creatively and can encourage social interaction between people who share interests. Seniors especially benefit from having a hobby thanks to improved emotional well-being, self-esteem, and cognitive function. Many may think that adding a new activity to their schedule will add stress, but finding the right hobby can actually have the opposite effect.
Types of Hobbies
There are hundreds of hobbies to discover, and it’s important to remember that not every hobby will be right for you. Different hobbies have different benefits and are suitable depending on your individual interests. Below is a list of hobbies you may want to try out, considerate of all mobility levels and circumstances.
Arts & Crafts Hobbies
From creating the design up to adding final touches, embroidery requires discipline and creativity. Through continuous focus on patterns, colors, and stitches, seniors can develop their creative mind and relieve stress. Embroidery kits for beginners are available online and in craft stores.
Produce beautiful photos and portraits by trying your hand at photography. Learning digital photography will surely boost concentration skills and give you a reason to look out for the beauty around you. Film photography is a great option for seniors, as the equipment is much more affordable and easier to learn.
When practicing origami, an ancient Japanese papercraft, the brain is training itself to make new connections and form new patterns. Using the fingertips in a precise manner also helps improve motor skills, which can be useful for seniors with decreased mobility.
Scrapbooks serve as chronicles of your life, filled with photos, old notes, and mementos. For seniors suffering from memory loss, scrapbooking could be an effective way of holding on to distant memories and remembering some of the best times in their lives.
Painting is an excellent creative outlet, even for those who have no prior experience or training in art. It helps to promote self-expression and creativity while being a meditative practice. Don’t worry about your painting being perfect –– it’s best to let yourself paint whatever comes to mind or whatever you find beautiful. Watercolor is a great option for those who don’t want to worry about the mess.
Sports and Fitness Hobbies
Whether they’re high-impact or low-impact, hikes provide seniors with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while meeting their exercise needs. Hiking can improve joint health, blood circulation and can decrease your risk for cardiovascular disease.
Yoga has substantial physical health benefits –– stretching dormant muscles, improving mobility and balance, and providing pain relief. It also has excellent emotional and mental health benefits, with those who practice yoga regularly experiencing reduced stress and anxiety levels.
Taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your body. A simple way to practice mindfulness is to find time to meditate each day, for as little or as long as you’d like. Sit still, close your eyes, and focus just on your breathing for a few minutes. To help get you started, thousands of guided meditation videos are available online for free.
Swimming offers incredible health benefits for seniors, including the lessening of osteoarthritis pain, improvement of joint health, and decreased risk of chronic illness. It provides a cardio workout while also being a refreshing and fun activity for those who enjoy the water.
Dancing is a great aerobic exercise that not only builds muscle and improves balance, but brings a rush of joy to those who give it their all. Whether you’re dancing in private to your favorite song or participating in a dance class, it’s a fun way to relieve stress and get active.
Gardening can become a practical and peaceful hobby for those living in retirement. If you don’t have yard space, indoor gardening is just as fulfilling, and indoor plants are generally easier to maintain. Some of the most common indoor plants include succulents, spider plants, aloe, and cacti.
Not only is baking a creative hobby, it also yields the best outcome: dessert! Most dessert recipes can be tweaked to fit diet restrictions, and thousands of them are available online. Baking can be a joyful means of creative expression while also being a treat for you and your family.
Video games have been shown to improve brain plasticity, as the mind is constantly taking in and retaining new information during gameplay. Social simulation and role-playing games like Animal Crossing or the Sims are most suitable for seniors, as they encourage interaction and provide a feeling of ease.
Learning an Instrument
Learning to play a new instrument provides your brain with a challenge, which is especially helpful for seniors battling memory loss. Whether you teach yourself at home or take classes with a professional, learning new motor patterns and rhythm techniques will boost the development of organizational and time management skills.
Journaling can be therapeutic and cathartic for many. The best thing about journaling is that there are no rules to it; you should feel free to write about anything: your emotional status, the events of your day, your surroundings, or something more creative like poetry or fiction.
Cognitive and Mental Hobbies
Hundreds of universities and companies offer online courses in specific disciplines or crafts. Whether you’re into science, music, technology, or you just want to expand your knowledge bank, online classes can provide prime education from the comfort of your home.
Learning a Language
Though learning a language becomes more difficult with age, it’s not impossible to do. Studies show that learning a demanding skill, like language fluency, over a period of time improves the brain’s ability to form memories. Learning a new language has never been more accessible, with hundreds of language-learning apps and services available for free.
Reading is often overlooked as a benefit to cognitive health. It is stimulating and mental-focused, which helps to delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It can also improve analytical skills, which are applicable to everyday situations and can help with reasoning and communication skills.
Utilize your problem-solving skills with a jigsaw puzzle! Jigsaw, as well as other puzzle games like sudoku and crosswords, exercise the brain while providing entertainment. By using logic and concentration while puzzle-solving, seniors can improve their decision-making and memory skills all while having fun.
Chess can help seniors physically, mentally, and socially. The mentally-stimulating game engages problem-solving skills and concentration, both of which help prevent cognitive decline. What’s great about chess is that it promotes social interaction and encourages relationship-building between people of all ages.
The Optimal Hobby For You
Finding a hobby you love will take some trial and error, but a good place to start is asking yourself what your interests and passions are. Maybe there’s a hobby you loved when you were younger or a hobby you’ve always wanted to try. We’re hopeful that this list is helpful and that among all of the options, you find the right one for you.