Taking interest in a hobby can have great benefits at any age. Hobbies can be educational, entertaining, or offer a welcome distraction from the anxieties of work and life. Once we reach retirement age, however, hobbies can take on an entirely new role altogether.
In addition to being a productive way to occupy your free time, hobbies can also keep you connected to a community. Participating in regular activities can help to relieve stress, prevent loneliness, and even have a positive effect on your health. In 2015, a study published in The Society of Behavioral Medicine found that people who engaged in activities that they enjoyed were more relaxed and had lower rates of depression.
In honor of National Hobby Month, check out some great hobbies for seniors that pack an added bonus of a positive impact on health.
1. Card Games
Playing with a good old-fashioned deck of cards has come a long way since the days of “Go Fish.” Card games such as Bridge or Mahjong have been making a comeback as hobbies for women over 50. Card games aren’t just fun, they help keep the mind sharp and studies have shown they may help reduce risk of dementia.
2. Book Club
Reading is no longer a solitary activity! Across America, men and women are joining book clubs to enjoy the positive experience of enriching life through the written word and lively conversation with friends. Seniors who join book clubs see a benefit to their social lives and mental acuity.
Spending time in a garden can be the perfect antidote to spending too much time indoors. By getting “down and dirty” in a garden, you can not only feel more connected to the earth, but gardening has been proven to ease stress and improve your mood.
While golf is a game enjoyed by both men and women alike, a whopping 77 percent of players are male and 37 percent of golfers are over the age of 60. This relaxing sport is actually good for your heart and endurance since it calls for a lot of walking around the course.
Sometimes it takes the stillness you find during retirement to help you tap into your inner creativity. “People often set interests or opportunities aside on the way out the door to pay the mortgage,” William Winn, a psychologist with New Directions Inc., told the Wall Street Journal. Later in life, however, “they may have more flexibility and freedom to pursue something artistic from their past, and to see it as more of a possibility than as fantasy.” Not only can painting help seniors tap into their creativity, it serves as a source of stress relief and improved memory.
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