Some people are under the assumption that when you age, it’s time to slow down. However, medical science begs to differ. In fact, research shows that staying active can help you stay healthier and be happier into your golden years.
If you’re no longer bogged down with the work projects that ate up most of your time, then it’s perfect chance to start being more social and do the things you really love to do. Here are seven ways to ensure you age with grace and a smile on your face…
Volunteer for a Worthy Cause
Now that you have some time on your hands, and are no longer responsible for bringing up children (unless they’re conveniently showing up at dinner time each evening), you can choose a cause you’re passionate about and really make a difference.
Whether it’s assisting the homeless, organizing supplies at a food bank, or driving patients to their next appointments, there are countless volunteer opportunities available. See if there’s a volunteer hub in your community that can match you with the best task. (Check out this article on the Health Benefits of Volunteering).
Take Up Dancing
Always wanted to take up ballroom? Well, age shouldn’t stand in your way. Dancing is a relatively low-impact way to stay active, while getting your heart pumping and circulation flowing.
Start slow and remember it’s not a competition (unless you want it to be). Line dancing is another great option that’s fun and easy to learn, and there’s an entire senior’s dance movement based around it for aging adults in the U.S. You may even spark new feelings of romance for your partner during a tango lesson.
Go Back to School
When you’re younger, you learn about subjects that may not be of interest to you, but were still essential to your success during your working life. However, you might’ve always wanted to take that philosophy, painting, pottery, or art history class, that didn’t seem practical at the time.
As the website Seniorplanet.com points out, you still may be able to afford to attend university classes even if you’re on a pension. The source notes that a number of states offer college classes to seniors for free (or at least give discounts on tuition). If you don’t want to sit in a lecture, why not offer your expertise and teach smaller workshops of your own?
Join a Social Club
Spending time on your own is okay now and again, but there are health benefits to remaining connected to others, according to EveryDay Health. The source says socializing can help stimulate the mind to ward off degenerative conditions such as dementia as well as depression.
You can join a seniors’ club and play cards or discuss books or movies, hike or cycle, or even join a gardening club and learn about how to care for different species of plants. Whatever it is you want to do, being with like-minded people can make you happier and more focused. Also, being with other people can be a benefit if you fear having a health episode while home alone.
Take Up a New Hobby
It’s never too late to pick up a camera and start learning the technical side of the craft. Who knows, you might’ve been a talented shutterbug all along. The same goes for learning a new musical instrument, knitting, or even mastering cooking skills to wow your guests.
Having a new passion will give you a renewed sense of purpose and something to look forward to each day as you learn, share and get better at the activity. It’s also good for your brain to learn new information and challenge yourself as you age.
Hopefully you have a few dollars set aside to see the world after retirement, either solo or with your spouse. Visiting other countries can be a very eye-opening and enriching experience, and can help wake up your inner curiosity and love life fully again.
There are many cruises or organized tours for seniors that will provide information as well as enhanced safety when you’re in a foreign land. With no work obligations to worry about, you can take an extended trip to somewhere exotic that you’ve always dreamed about. Just be sure to take the proper precautions (as outlined by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) so your dream excursion is not cut short.
Get a Pet
Didn’t have time or energy to take care of a Golden Retriever when there were kids and jobs to be tended to? Now’s your chance. Having a furry companion around the house can be a comfort, and will also give you an excuse to get out for walks together to stay in shape.
AgingCare.com notes that owning a pet (no, it doesn’t have to be a Golden Retriever) can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. A loyal pet can also reduce feelings of loneliness, and they give unconditional love. According to the source, pets can also stimulate seniors’ minds so they can recall more memories. Consider adopting an older pet from a pound, adds the source.