Advice to retirees is to create a portfolio of activities blending socializing, moving, creating and thinking – all of which correlate with high scores on standard measures of aging and cognitive health. To find out what hobbies the active and engaged seniors participate in, Road Scholars was surveyed; Road Scholars is the not-for-profit leader in educational travel since 1975. Twelve hobbies or activities for retirement came out on top, all rich in two or more of the four key dimensions for successful aging and cognitive health. They are:
- Volunteering – It is good for the soul, is highly social and comes in a thousand different forms. Try museums, art and performance centers, hospitals, hospice and community service.
- Book Club – Encourages reading books you otherwise wouldn’t read and opens the door to new experiences. Provides insights, friendships and other viewpoints.
- Walking and Hiking – Provides a quickened pulse, socializing if you walk with a friend, fresh air, and the beauty of nature; if indoors – a little window shopping.
4. Genealogy – Using internet resources, research is great brain exercise, providing history of ancestors, stories and introduction to new relatives.
5. Photography – Develops the artistic side of your brain, learning to see in a completely new way.
6. Gardening – Good for the body, the brain and the soul; get exercise and if you grow vegetables, eat healthier. Enhances your spiritual side while communing with nature.
7. Birding – Gets you outside and walking; stretches your mind as you focus on birds and their identification.
8. Foreign Language Study – Seniors have the advantage of focus and a genuine commitment to learning often lacking in younger folks.
9. Writing – Leave something of value to future generations by writing stories, poems or memoirs; a way of passing on stories and lessons to children and grandchildren.
10. Singing or Playing a Musical Instrument – A top hobby is taking music or singing lessons. Seniors have a disciplined approach to practice, leading to satisfying progress.
11. Painting and Drawing – An inspirational journey that frees and expands the mind and spirit. Plein air painting combines the satisfying experience of painting with a love of nature and scenery.
12.Bicycling – Rekindle the feelings of freedom you experienced as a child while employing aerobic exercise, balance, strength and mental alertness. It can also be a great social experience.
From: Peter Spiers, Senior Vice President of Strategic Outreach at Road Scholar, and www.AtlantaSeniorLife.com