The 10 Best Ways to Stay Active After Retirement
As we age, mental and physical health require a certain amount of special attention. Studies have shown that keeping engaged in stimulating mental activities after retirement is critical to maintaining a sharp mind. Old age is not a time to stop learning new things and participating in activities.
The average retired American has about 8 hours of free time every day. Most people will watch TV as their main leisure activity, but doing things like socializing, playing games, exercising, and reading are much more beneficial to not just mental retention but also to keeping a positive outlook. We have some fun ideas for hobbies any retiree might enjoy.
- Plant a Garden.
Gardening keeps you active and can also help you keep a positive attitude. Studies show that gardening can reduce stress and that helps aid in preventing heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other lifestyle diseases. Plus, eating nutritious foods from your garden will be a bonus!
- Try Your Hand at Bird Watching.
Many studies show that being in nature reduces stress and boosts mental wellbeing. Walking is a great overall health-booster and it increases serotonin, which makes us feel good, while simultaneously lowering stress. Pair that with the benefits of learning about new birds and you have a great mentally stimulating hobby.
- Build Model Cars or Ships.
Fine motor skills and exercising the brain are keys to maintaining a healthy wellbeing at any age. Model making requires the mind and hands to work together and focus on a task for hours on end. Conferences are held all over the world for this hobby, and it’s a hobby held by many retired doctors, pilots, and military personnel to help keep them sharp. Plus, nothing compares to the satisfaction felt after completing a model boat, car, ship, or plane, and being able to display it in your living space.
- Record Your Family History.
Have you ever wondered where your genetic roots come from? Even if you haven’t, there’s a high probability that your kids, your kid’s kids, etc. would be fascinated to know where their family is from. Consider spending some time creating a family tree by researching your ancestors, and you’ll have the chance to learn about historical events that your family members were a part of, where your namesake came from, help preserve your family’s culture, and so much more. Not only will it help you understand yourself better, but you’ll be able to share the information with future generations as well.
One of the last things to go with age is….oh I forget! To help remember specific memories and/or to creative timeless gifts for loved ones, give scrapbooking a try. Photos are inexpensive and easy to print out these days, and your photo album doesn’t have to be fancy. Just the ability to flip through photos will help keep your memories intact and you can get those creative juices flowing by decorating each page to your liking.
- Correspond with a Pen Pal from Somewhere New.
Even as technology continues to improve, the feeling of receiving a handwritten letter in the mail remains priceless. And, there’s always something more we can learn about other cultures, traditions, and ways of life. Finding a pen pal in a different part of the country or the world would allow you to share stories and connect with a new friend. Instead of spending time alone or with the same community every day, consider finding a pen pal online, and then taking some time to write them a note, maybe a photo or two, and drop it in the mail. Investing in relationships with others is always a worthwhile way to spend your time.
- Logic Puzzles.
Stay sharp as a tack by getting into logic puzzles. Whether its sudoku, a crossword, mystery games, or something else, getting wrapped up in a logic puzzle will exercise your vocabulary, your problem-solving skills, and your brain. You can find logic puzzles in magazines, newspapers, or even online. They are a surefire way to focus your energy, reduce anxiety, and provide a sense of accomplishment when you finally do solve the puzzle.
- Take an Adult Education Course.
Are you able to say that you learn something new every day? No one is ever too young or old to learn new things. Adult education courses are a great way to meet new people, engage in positive discussions, and learn new skills. These classes can be found at community colleges and community centers, but also online. Classes can range from learning about a different culture, to ‘Where were you when…?’ history recaps, to health and lifestyle courses.
We had to say it! Exercise is a great way to improve overall health and wellbeing. However, it doesn’t have to be a daunting task and you don’t need any equipment for it to be worthwhile. Exercise can include a walk, repetitions of sitting down and standing up, arm circles, and leg lifts. If you have concerns or you’re looking for exercises specific to your health needs, it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor or healthcare provider.
- Playing the Piano.
Studies have shown that people who never stop playing music have been able to reverse the decline of memory, inner hearing loss, and brain processing. Learning/practicing the piano requires concentration, patience, and can help strengthen hand muscles and hand-eye coordination. Playing music is also shown to help reduce stress and anxiety. It’s also a fantastic way to keep your creativity alive and well. There are so many positive health benefits to learning piano, or even another. You may even become the life of the party for being able to provide the tunes.
There are so many options when it comes to how you spend your free time that it can almost seem overwhelming. But when it comes to health and overall well-being, it’s important that how we spend our free time supports our health goals. Hopefully this list provides a few options for you to consider the next time you feel like spending a day on the couch watching TV. You’ll create or do something great, while also staying healthy.
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