Throughout our lives, there are various activities that we participate in that help to define who we are. For some, work provides that definition; for others, raising children. But when retirement nears and children have grown, it can be easy to become rudderless if you cannot figure out how to channel that energy into a new activity.
There are also known health risks associated with boredom in retirement, including clinical depression, anxiety and even a higher risk of developing dementia. While many experts suggest approaching retirement as a process rather than an event, that can often be easier said than done. It’s not easy to transition into a new phase of life, but choosing to participate in hobbies in retirement can be one way to overcome the challenge.
The Benefits of Hobbies For Senior Citizens
One of the big benefits of retirement is being able to pursue your interests in a way that you were never able to before, either due to time constraints or life circumstances. But in addition to trying new activities, picking up new hobbies in retirement can also help to keep you healthy.
The National Institutes of Health’s Institute on Aging has found that participating in activities you enjoy can help to support healthy aging. They cite research that has found that the benefits of hobbies for senior citizens include:
- A lower risk of developing certain illnesses, such as dementia and heart attacks
- A greater sense of happiness and well-being
- More preparation to cope with the loss of a spouse or other loved ones
- A marked improvement in cognitive abilities and memory recall
Many of the benefits of exploring new hobbies in retirement overlap with the benefits of maintaining social engagements as you age, which is no coincidence. NIH’s Institute on Aging contributes this overlap to significant research that has shown that isolation in old age is one of the greatest health risks to seniors today, and that “engaging in social and productive activities you enjoy, like taking an art class or becoming a volunteer in your community or at your place of worship, may help to maintain your well-being.”
Hobbies For Seniors To Pursue In Retirement
When many of us think of the word “hobby,” we think of stamp collecting or bird watching, but there are many different, and exciting, types of hobbies that seniors can pursue in retirement. And while it’s great to have a hobby that you enjoy doing alone, it’s important to your physical and mental health to also include hobbies that allow you to connect with other people.
We know that available resources vary from town to town, but there are some general hobbies for seniors that are accessible to you no matter where you live:
The Keys To Aging Well
The social interaction you gain through pursuing different hobbies in retirement, is only one facet of aging well. In addition to creating happy social experiences in retirement, you also need to commit to exercising regularly and maintaining a nutritious diet in order to continue to feel healthy, both inside and out, as you age.