20 Mar 2019
Years ago, Americans retired at 65 with a pension, a gold watch and an expectation of about 10 more years to live. All that has changed as today’s 65 and over population redefines what this stage of life means.
Whether you consider it your second or third act, you’re probably figuring out how to enjoy your newfound freedom and enrich your life. Keeping your mind, body and spirit healthy doesn’t have to mean doing crossword puzzles, attending water aerobics and getting involved at your local church or synagogue, although those are all wonderful options. Staying healthy simply means participating in activities you enjoy. Here are a few physically and mentally stimulating hobbies you might not have considered:
Gardening can increase mobility and overall physical activity. Benefits include the increased use of motor skills, improved endurance and strength, and reduced stress levels by promoting relaxation. Gardeners can enjoy nature’s beauty and be inspired to learn more about the planet.
Dancing as exercise can improve your balance and gait, while also helping to reduce the risk of falls, fractures and immobility. In fact, a study from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine found that dancing is associated with a lower risk of dementia, not to mention that it can serve as cardio exercise and a fun way to form connections if taken as part of a class.
Swimming is beneficial for cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. It also improves muscle tone and posture. Swimming is easy on the joints and therefore good for those with osteoarthritis.
Geocaching is the new scavenger hunt. Using GPS technology to reach new “caches” or hiding spots, to find the secret item, participants may travel to discover new places locally or in other parts of the world. Geocaching can be both physically and mentally challenging, while encouraging social interaction and serving as a family activity. Visit www.geocaching.com/play to get started.
Playing cards/games can be a fun activity to enjoy with family and friends. These activities sharpen your problem solving skills and inspire creativity. Research has found that mental stimulation can create new brain cell connections, which lead to sharper thinking skills and slowed memory loss.
Learning a foreign language can expand your mind and open up new avenues for social engagement with native speakers. You can learn a language your ancestors spoke or find one that’s less familiar. You might even want to explore the origins of a language.
These are just some healthy hobbies to consider. You can also volunteer, practice yoga, knit, learn tai chi, join your church’s choir, go for daily walks, and so much more. The key is to not limit yourself and to have fun with it!