Senior Leisurely Activities
Seniors who stay active and engaged through activities such as hobbies, regular exercise, travel and relaxation report feeling happier and healthier overall, and countless studies have backed their claims. Keeping the mind active and intellectually engaged seems to help reduce the development and progress of many memory related conditions, and may actually improve cognition. Furthermore, seniors who stay physically active typically have greater overall energy and strength in addition to reduced risks for diabetes, heart disease and other health-related conditions according the National Institute on Aging. Here are some leisurely activities favorites of active seniors.
Hobbies and Recreational Exercise for Seniors
We included hobbies and exercise together because many of these recreational activities actually involve a good bit of physical action. However, seniors should always consult with their medical provider before embarking on any type of new recreational exercise. Popular leisure activities amid these categories for seniors include:
- Arts and Crafts: The world of art can include anything from painting, scrapbooking, photography and sculpting to crocheting, sewing or needlepoint. The benefits of crafting make it a favorite hobby for seniors who want to keep their mind’s and hands active.
- Dancing: Cutting a rug occasionally is great exercise that is excellent for improving cardiovascular health and balance to reduce risks of falls and fractures. Furthermore, taking a turn around the dance floor has been associated with lower dementia risks—not to mention it’s fun and a great socialization opportunity.
- Gardening: The therapeutic benefits of gardening seem endless. Not only do seniors enjoy it, but it provides moderate exercise, engages the mind and allows individuals to connect with nature. In fact, gardening is the most popular recreational activity among seniors 65 and older.
- Golfing: Golf can be enjoyed well into the golden years, making it a popular senior hobby. It can help maintain and improve flexibility and hand-eye coordination and keep players happy and satisfied. There are even specialized golf senior retirement communities.
- Practicing Yoga: Practicing yoga has been shown to reduce stress, minimize hypertension and improve flexibility and balance, making it an excellent-low impact activity for seniors. In fact, many senior care communities and recreation centers offer yoga classes.
- Cooking: Beyond the sheer joy of indulging in the fare, cooking can help seniors stay alert and improve mental acumen in addition to allowing them to reminisce about some fond memories of sharing favorite recipes with loved ones.
- Bowling: Seniors looking to improve mobility while socializing and having some hearty laughs can benefit from bowling sessions. This sport can elevate mood, promote hand-eye coordination and give players a sense of satisfaction—especially when they win!
- Swimming: As a muscle tone building form of low-impact exercise, swimming is a superior option for seniors with conditions that degenerate cartilage and bone tissue. An hour a week of this hydrotherapy can improve spinal posture, flexibility and cardiovascular health, too.
Checking Off the Traveling Bucket List
Regardless of age, just about everyone has travel aspirations. Better known as a bucket list, there are a few destinations that seem to appear on quite a few seniors’ must-see places wish list. Amid the United States, the most popular senior travel destinations include:
- Florida: The sunshine state abounds with sandy beaches, shopping and thrilling entertainment opportunities, which is why it’s a top choice with retirees.
- Alaska: While not an ideal retirement place for many, the appeal of Alaska’s wilderness, huge ice masses and exotic locale make it a once-in-a-lifetime excursion. Most seniors opt to take a cruise to this destination.
- Hawaii: These faraway islands are exotic and beautiful—no further explanation needed why Hawaii makes 90% of bucket lists.
- NYC: The Big Apple features the best shows and the city never sleeps. However, seniors love traveling there to reinvigorate their youthful tendencies and experience the city’s vital essence.
Some seniors who considered retiring abroad but are now satisfied simply taking an overseas journey often add these destinations to their traveling bucket list.
- England: From catching a glimpse of Big Ben or Buckingham Palace to touring sacred historical sites, England is a top choice for senior travelers.
- France: Is it the glorious cuisine, the fine wines or the beautiful landscapes and castles that attract elderly travelers to France? We’re not sure, but it’s likely a culmination of all of them and much more.
- Italy: Ancient history buffs young and old add this incredibly diverse country to their dream travel list. Venice, Rome, Sicily and countless other cities rich in culture and history beckon to seniors.
Relaxation and Mental Stimulation for Seniors
It’s essential for seniors to take time out to relax and unwind each day. This can involve solo activities or engaging with others for emotional comfort and stimulation, but experts advise individuals—regardless of age—to do a bit of both. Here are some relaxing activities popular amid the elderly.
- Brain Games and Puzzles: Brain games and crossword puzzles and sudoku are exceptional tools for senior to use to maintain a sharp mind, and playing games such as bridge, scrabble or cards stimulates critical thinking skills and keep the brain fit. Seniors often enjoy passing the time with these activities.
- Spa Experiences: You don’t have to live in a luxury retirement community to relax the mind and body with a spa day. Hydrotherapy and self-pampering reinvigorates the spirit and soothes away stress.
- Senior Dating: Yes, senior dating experiences can be relaxing! After all, companionship is an important aspect of happiness and maintaining mental health. Many single seniors discover lasting relationships far beyond ‘typical’ dating years and even after the passing of a spouse.
- Book Club: Reading is relaxing and gives the mind contemplation material, but starting a book club gives seniors the opportunity to converse and engage with others. Tossing around ideas and good debates promote mental acumen and even a sense of satisfaction.
- Caring for a Pet: Pets can make great senior companions, and science shows that pets can have positive health benefits on owners who often experience reduced stress levels but raised levels of pleasure inducing serotonin. Pet owners are also likely to experience less depression and develop fewer cardiovascular related conditions such as high blood pressure.