Lots of us find that we have much more time on our hands as we get older. Many of us retire or choose to work part-time, and suddenly we have hours and hours to fill with whatever we want! But it’s particularly important for older people to stay physically and socially active.
This will not only help you avoid boredom and loneliness; it can also reduce your risk of developing several health problems. Doing this keeps you healthy mentally and physically. Picking up a new hobby or two is the best solution. We have put together a list of our top 15 hobby ideas to give older people some inspiration.
Here we go:
It’s very important for older people to stay physically active. According to the NHS, most adults aged 65 and older spend an average of 10 hours or more sitting or laying down every day. This puts over-65s at higher risk of obesity and heart disease than the rest of the population. The first of our hobby ideas is a great way to combat these risks!
There are plenty of different sports which will help you stay active, no matter your current fitness level or experience. Sports can also be a great social activity, bringing you closer to the people you know and helping you meet new friends too.
Here are some of the most popular sports for older people. Click on a sport to read more about it.
- Walking Football.
Not only is sport great for our physical wellbeing, but it is also great for our mental health. Of course, more than anything else, playing a sport is great fun! It gives you something to look forward to each week, whether you’re a member of a club or you’re just having a social game with friends. Imagine if your team wins…
2. Fitness Activities
Sports might not be your thing, but that’s alright. There are plenty of other ways to exercise, meet new people and look after your health. Here are some fantastic fitness hobby ideas for people of all fitness levels:
- Nordic walking.
- Going to the gym.
- Chair yoga.
- Fitness classes & groups.
There are different classes available, including gentle walks for those with health concerns. There are also workout walks for those who are looking to improve their fitness, lose weight, or tone their body. By using Nordic poles, you are taking the weight off your knees and lower body joints. Nordic walking can reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and asthma. Nordic walking groups will also introduce you to new people. This can help improve your social life and combat loneliness.
If you’re considering taking part in a sporting or fitness activity, it’s important to know your body’s limits. Before starting any new exercise regime, you should speak to your GP, especially if you have issues with your muscles, joints, or bones.
Gardening has plenty of benefits for older people. Once you get the hang of it, gardening can become rather addictive! It’s hard to beat the satisfaction of planting a seed and watching it grow. Keen gardeners will want to fill their gardens (and their windowsills!) with the most beautiful flowers and plants, cut the lawn into a nice, neat design and maybe even grow some fruits and vegetables.
These are just a few of the mental and physical benefits of getting out into the garden:
- Reduces stress levels.
- Gives a sense of achievement.
- Getting out into the fresh air.
- Helps to keep your body fit and active.
- Can provide nutritious, healthy food.
Getting up and about and keeping active rather than sitting down all day is great for our health. In fact, a 2015 study found that just two 50-minute sessions of potting plants and watering flowers can dramatically improve stamina, dexterity, and brain function. Furthermore, after seven weeks, the participants of the study all lost weight, particularly around their waists, which is one of the most dangerous parts of the body to store fat. Overall, it isn’t hard to see why gardening is one of the most popular hobby ideas for older people!
One of the most interesting stories to make the news recently is the rise of the silver gamer. That’s right, moreover-55s are playing video games now than ever before! The Telegraph recently reported that one in four over-65s are now using their smartphones to play video games. Gaming provides great entertainment and, like most of our hobby ideas, gives you a chance to socialize. Most games give you the option to play against your friends, either online or side-by-side. You can also choose to play against strangers online and chat with people from all around the world. Playing computer games gives the brain a healthy challenge too. A 2015 study suggested that 3D computer games can help prevent memory loss.
5. Social Media
Social media has taken the world by storm. It’s especially popular among the younger generation, but older people are diving in too. This phenomenon has also become one of the most popular activities on our list of hobby ideas. According to Ofcom, 58% of people aged 55-64 have a social media profile in 2020. For the over-65s, that figure is 39%. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, millions of us across the UK have depended on social media to stay in touch with loved ones near and far.
Popular social platforms such as Facebook, Zoom, and WhatsApp are great for older people – especially those who live alone or far away from family. Plenty of younger people now choose to move away from their childhood hometown, whether it’s to go to university or for work purposes. This means that the older generations can sometimes get left behind, making it difficult for them to see their family regularly. In situations like this, social media steps in and allows people to re-connect with their family and friends, both nearby and around the world.
Cooking a meal from scratch can give you a great sense of achievement. Cooked meals can bring friends and family together. After all, everybody likes to boast about their grandma’s Sunday dinner! But it’s not just the social benefits of cooking that are important. Cooking homemade food is also great for our health. We all know the importance of a healthy diet, but did you know that home cooking can help your mental health too?
If you’re not already a keen cook, there are a few simple ways you can get started. Try creating a simple meal plan, experiment with healthy recipes, and learn about new foods from around the world. Rather than eating out, getting a takeaway, or buying processed-ready meals, whip up your own healthy dishes at home. If you or somebody you live with is a keen gardener, why not use some home-grown produce in your cooking? This might be one of the most practical hobby ideas on our list – after all, everybody needs to eat! Cooking your own food can save you money, make you healthier, and give you a big self-esteem boost.
Who doesn’t love a good book? This might be the most traditional entry on our list of hobby ideas for older people. It doesn’t matter if you’re 65 or 25, a good book can provide days of entertainment. There are so many different genres to choose from, which means that there will be something for everyone. Fiction fans only need to take a look at the current bestseller list for inspiration. For TV and sports fans, there are plenty of autobiographies. For those who like horror stories, Stephen King is hard to beat.
Reading is one of our favorite hobby ideas because of its wide range of benefits. It can help to enhance memory, sharpen decision-making skills, reduce stress, and help people to get to sleep much faster. Reading before bed is a great idea, as it induces shut-eye much better than watching TV late at night.
9. Learn to Play a Musical Instrument
Of all our hobby ideas, this is one that most of us consider at some point in our lives. How many people dreamed of being a famous musician when they were little? While you might not be selling out stadiums any time soon, music is such a wonderful hobby for people of all ages. There are plenty of instruments for you to choose from too, such as the guitar, drums, piano, saxophone, or violin.
Teaching yourself a new skill provides a stimulating mental challenge, which is important in the battle against dementia and cognitive decline. You’ll also develop your time management and organizational skills during the learning process, as you’ll have to give it your time and attention if you’re going to progress.
Your hand-eye coordination will also improve, as your brain will be working to convert the musical notes that you’re reading on the page into specific hand movements, breathing techniques, and rhythms.
It also goes without saying that playing a musical instrument is plenty of fun! You could end up making new friends by joining a band once you’re ready!
10. Model Building
This might be one of the more unconventional hobby ideas on our list. Model building can become quite addictive, especially as you don’t even have to leave your home. Putting together some of your favorite cars or planes can help you to develop your dexterity, coordination, and patience. According to Model Space, you could also learn the following skills:
Model building can be a great stress-reliever. You can escape to your own little assembly area to concentrate solely on building your latest project, clearing your mind of any day-to-day problems or worries. Model building is also a great hobby to enjoy with your grandchildren. You can build your projects together, strengthening your relationship and teaching them the rewards of good teamwork.
Finally, the sense of achievement that you’ll have once your latest project is complete cannot be beaten. You can take a step back and appreciate the model that you have just built, before adding it to your collection.
Looking after a pet can easily be seen as a hobby idea. Having a pet can provide you with a friendly companion and someone to focus your energy on each day. Having a dog, for example, is great if you’re living alone as it will combat any feelings of boredom or loneliness.
Pets provide you with a sense of responsibility. You know that you need to feed them, take them for walks, keep them clean, and protect them from any potential dangers around the home and the outside world. Lots of people, especially older people, find great fulfillment in caring for someone else. When children grow up and leave home, a pet can be a great way to help fill an ’empty nest’.
Why not take some time out from the daily grind to see the world? Going traveling could help you tick off lots of goals on your bucket list. Maybe you’ll head over to the States for a road trip along Route 66? Alternatively, go down under and visit the outback in Australia. Before you head anywhere, make sure that you’ve sorted out any insurance and vaccinations you need, and remember to keep your home secure whilst you’re away.