Staying healthy in retirement doesn't just mean exercising or eating right. It also includes staying emotionally healthy by taking part in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. With retirement comes the freedom to pursue interests and activities that were previously on the back burner due to time constraints.
Get started with these five activities for seniors who are looking to stay healthy in retirement.
1. Take an Adult Education or Exercise Class
Whether it's yoga, cooking Thai cuisine or learning new technology so well that you put your grandkids to shame, there have never been more options for classes. There are in-person and online offerings, and some of them are free, so you just need to choose what you're interested in.
Taking a class can also expand your social circle since you'll meet people with similar interests. Contact your local YMCA, senior center, council on aging or other related organization to get more information on the opportunities available in your community.
2. Learn the Art of Meditation and Mindfulness
Being healthy includes reducing stress and increasing peace and calm. Taking time to just "be" is as equally important for your health as being active. Learning meditation and mindfulness has become popular in recent years because of its proven positive effect on emotional, mental and physical health and well-being, according to the American Psychological Association.
If you search for "meditation" on YouTube, you'll find tons of free offerings that will teach you meditation and mindfulness techniques. These can reduce anxiety and even help you sleep. If you're interested in a more formal class, check out your local YMCA, senior center, council on aging or adult education location for meditation and mindfulness programs.
3. Try Out Your Green Thumb With Gardening
Whether it's a couple of pots at your front door or a backyard full of possibilities, gardening is a great way to stay active, immerse yourself in nature and maybe even meet some new people. Mayo Clinic dietitian Anya Guy notes that working in a garden can be a stress reducer and, according to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, gardening helps retain fine and gross motor skills, improve memory and more.
If you grow your own vegetables, you're also adding healthy food to your diet and maybe the motivation to try a new recipe or two. Dig in and start experimenting! For further resources, contact your local gardening club, community garden or library.
4. Give Back to Your Community
Volunteering can take many forms, whether it's exploring your interests by volunteering at your local museum or theater or by serving your community by working at a food pantry or shelter. If you have a skill to share, you can teach a class at your local library or adult education program. For more information, contact your local senior center or check out the Senior Corps.
5. Join a Social Group
Many seniors in retirement find emotional wellness by broadening their social circles and joining local groups. There are knitting groups, day trip outings through your local senior center and many other opportunities to connect. Think about what you'd like to do and check out resources online through your library, local senior or community center or town/city hall to find the best fit for your goals and interests.
There are many activities for seniors who are trying to stay healthy in retirement — these are just a few possibilities. It's important to remember that wellness doesn't just involve the gym or the kitchen table. It also includes maintaining social connections in your community, exploring passion projects you've never had time for and simply doing what makes you feel happy and whole. The choices are endless, so think about what you really want to do now that you aren't working and go for it!