For some, over 55 living may feel daunting, especially if your children have left the nest and you find yourself with way more free time and space than you’re used to. Once you reach a certain age you may begin to feel stuck in your ways, and doubt your capability to introduce new hobbies and activities into your life. This is especially the case if previously all your time was taken up by other responsibilities such as work or family. However, it’s honestly never too late to pick up a new skill or hobby.
While some may have a whole bucket list worth of activities that they want to try out, others may still be reeling from major life changes. Finding new hobbies and activities is an important aspect of maintaining your cognitive, physical, and emotional welfare in the long term. Not only are hobbies useful for making new friends and stimulating your mind, depending on what kind of activities you pick up, you may actually find there to be a variety of physical benefits. However, some people may be hesitant to pick up anything too strenuous due to the increasing health complications that tend to accompany old age.
While you may not find yourself taking up something a little more extreme such as skateboarding or bouldering, you also don’t have to restrict yourself to stationery hobbies such as knitting or scrapbooking. The world is large and the possibilities are seemingly endless, even if you’re getting on in years.
If you haven’t already tried it yourself, then it is likely that you’ve met someone who has. Yoga has been practiced for centuries and became popular in the United States around the 1960s, along with other Eastern health practices such as meditation. Yoga has various health benefits on both a physical as well as cognitive level. Additionally, since there is a big emphasis in yoga about respecting your body’s boundaries and limitations, that generally makes it suitable for people of all different body types and ages, since it’s relatively gentle.
The physical benefits that yoga can bring are numerous. It helps to lower the risk of health issues such as depression and osteoporosis, enhances mobility and strength, and can even help to alleviate existing aches and pains. If you join a yoga class, it also gives you an avenue to be socially active, since you can meet like-minded peers from all walks of life.
The meditation and breathing exercises are often found to be mood boosters and help you to practice mindfulness, which can be applied to a variety of situations even outside of yoga. The slow, measured movements of yoga are gentle on the body while still helping to strengthen the bones and muscles. This helps to maintain the physical fitness and health of the person. And just like with most workouts, there’s a good chance that the physical benefits will also extend even further to include boons such as improved sleep quality.
Playing a Musical Instrument
Perhaps you lost interest when you were younger, you never had the chance to learn, or you happened to see a particularly moving performance. Either way, you don’t really need a particularly good reason to pick up a musical instrument. Learning an instrument is gradually becoming more accessible, especially with an abundance of learning materials online. From videos on YouTube to apps you can download, it’s possible to learn the basics relatively easily as long as you’re able to get your hands on an instrument.
Learning an instrument has a variety of benefits, particularly for the cognitive health of an individual. Not only is playing a musical instrument a stress reliever, since it gives you an avenue for creativity and to express yourself, but it also has benefits to the physical brain. Learning how to play an instrument helps to boost your memory, motor skills, multitasking abilities, and even your reaction time. This is important for preserving the fine motor skills and cognitive abilities of a person as they continue to age.
Furthermore, there are also benefits for the person’s emotional wellbeing. Learning an instrument can be a huge confidence booster, as it gives you a sense of accomplishment whenever you improve your skills on the instrument. Furthermore, learning an instrument is a possible way to make new friends, especially if you’re learning as a class. Even if you’re learning the skill by yourself, it’s still possible to connect with others who have a similar love for music through various social media sites. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even go on to fulfill your teenage dreams of being part of (or even forming your own) band. When it comes down to it, the sky’s the limit.
There are many possible ways to occupy your time once you’ve transitioned into this usually more relaxed and easy-going stage of your life. Some good places to check for other interesting opportunities would be your local community’s Facebook page or community center. Go forth and bravely explore. The world is still your oyster.