lifestyle health baby boomer

Healthy Hobbies for Retirement

Healthy Hobbies for Retirement

This week's post was originally featured on our friend Sydney Lagier's blog, Retirement: A Full-Time Job:

It comes as no surprise that many people associate the word “retirement” with “golf.” Early tee times with friends followed by a midday lunch at the clubhouse seems to be a common stereotype of how retirees spend much of their free time. This is a common fallacy that forces many people to unwillingly pick up the game and end up finding absolutely no pleasure in it. So what should you do if golf isn’t your thing?

Despite the common perception of golf as being the main hobby for retirees across the country, there are tons of other activities that offer a unique combination of exercise, shared connection, and most importantly, satisfaction. They can also shape your decision on where to retire. A few of them include:

Softball: Softball is great way to be outdoors while staying active and competitive. It is also a sure way to engage in social bonding, especially if you miss the camaraderie of your office team.

Swimming: Swimming offers multiple benefits for your body including improved flexibility, built up endurance, and stronger heart muscle. It also provides the social benefit of meeting others during exercise classes or general lap swims.

Hiking or Walking: According to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a steady routine of walking can greatly reduce the chances of disability at old age. Walking or hiking also helps prevent or manage certain conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure, and can be done with your friends or significant other in remote areas of nature.

Yoga: One of the many benefits of yoga is that it can help protect you from injury by increasing your muscle strength and tone. It also enhances your respiratory and energy levels in addition to being a huge stress reliever.

All of these exercises can improve your quality of life by enhancing your strength and improving your overall mood, both of which can be attributed to a longer, healthier life. Exercise classes offered at various community centers provide manageable training with specialized teachers who understand the limitations of your body. It is therefore crucial to explore these avenues when selecting your eventual retirement location.

So you have already heard this advice from your doctor…over and over again. And quite frankly, you just don’t care. Well, you are not alone in that mindset. According to a report conducted by the Merck Manual, at least 75% of people over the age of 65 do not exercise at recommended levels despite the known health benefits of exercise. Whether it is an issue of ignorance or more practically a problem of physical limitation, there are still ways to maintain your welfare outside of simply moving your arms and legs.

One of the beauties of retirement is that it allows you to finally undertake those projects that previously seemed impossible due to prior commitments to “the job.” It gives you an opportunity to pursue something exciting and fresh. So maybe that means a trip to Europe? Or a quick excursion across the country to see relatives? Or possibly the start of your memoir? You certainly do not have to pick up a golf ball or put on a bathing suit to stay active. Instead, try considering personal projects like the following:

Home Projects: Build a garden in your new home or decorate your backyard porch so you can invite friends over for dinner or drinks. Often, retirees have commented on how much gratification they receive from projects around the house. - We talked with Kathleen from Chicago, IL who could not agree more, “I’d really like to challenge myself during retirement by finally taking an advanced class in horticulture or possibly joining a local gardening club. This would keep me active while not forcing me to travel too much either. And it would impress all my new guests!”

Volunteering: Volunteering is another excellent activity that can bring you satisfaction while benefiting those within the community. This could involve tutoring children in academics or arts and crafts, or assisting patients in hospital outreach programs, just to name a few.

Theater and Arts: Reengage your artistic side and audition for a play or musical at the local arts center. This would allow you to make new friends while displaying your talents in front of a local audience. And anyone who has experience in theater knows that on stage performances are a workout in their own.

Regardless of the hobby that you choose, it is essential to always be cautious with your body as you decide on what new activities to begin, or what sports and games to continue to engage in. It is important to do something that does not overly strain your body or your mind. Instead, find something that is safe, manageable, and allows you fully enjoy the free time that you’ve worked so hard to attain.

What are some of the activities you're looking forward to in retirement? Let us hear your ideas in the commentary below!