Your retirement years can be a great time to rest and unwind after a lifetime of work. However, shifting from a scheduled lifestyle to a relaxed one can be emotionally difficult. Many may feel a lack of purpose after they retire, leading to feelings of anxiety and depression. Luckily, picking up a new hobby is an easy way to combat the post-retirement blues, stay busy, and discover new interests! Read on to learn about ten hobbies that are perfect for retirees!


If you’re looking for a hobby to get you outside and connected to nature, gardening may be perfect for you! Whether you’re interested in planting vegetables or flowers, gardening is a versatile way to get your hands dirty and to create something that you can be proud of! Gardening can also be good for your joints and muscles, as it promotes regular use of these joints and can help to manage arthritis! You can also adjust your gardening practices to match your body’s needs by using a gardening chair, taking frequent breaks, and gardening in raised plant beds.


For those interested in a longer form game that can strengthen the brain, chess remains an excellent hobby for retirees and seniors. Requiring lots of thought and reasoning skills, chess is proven to improve retention in adults, and some studies show that chess can prevent dementia in seniors. Chess also requires two players, creating an opportunity for players to interact with each other and combat loneliness!


Puzzling is a great way to interact with art, while utilizing your mind and your body at the same time! When an individual puts together a puzzle, they are exercising important areas of their brain (such as the part of the brain that controls short term memory) and reducing their cortisol levels (the hormone released when we experience fear or anxiety). Puzzles also allow individuals to practice collaboration and community by working with others to successfully finish the puzzle. Puzzling also improves finger dexterity, which is especially important for seniors.

Learn an instrument

It’s never too late to pick up a new instrument, and retirement may present the perfect opportunity to do so! Whether you choose to play guitar, violin, piano, or something else, learning an instrument is proven to increase hand-eye coordination, stimulate the brain, and support memory! Playing an instrument can also increase the dexterity in your fingers, allowing individuals to have a better range of motion in their fingers and hands. Playing an instrument also creates a sense of fulfilment and pride and can promote creativity!


With so much free time throughout your retirement, why not donate some of that time to those in need? Volunteering can help to support your local community, while also increasing feelings of happiness and connection! Most communities have great local spaces for volunteering, such as humane shelters, congregate meals, and food pantries. Volunteering can also help you meet new people and develop new skills, promoting confidence and preventing loneliness!


Another hobby that promotes exercise and being outdoors is cycling, an easy and fun way to work out and enjoy nature. Most people have access to a bicycle, or can buy a used bicycle for a low price, making cycling a fun and accessible hobby. Cyclers can travel long distances on their bikes, or can stay local, allowing for lots of flexibility in how you engage with this hobby! Similarly, many towns and cities have implemented bike lanes in their roads, making cycling safer than ever. Cycling is also great for your health, supporting your lungs, blood vessels, and heart!


Whether you’ve always been a reader or want to pick up reading as a hobby for the first time, there’s no better time to complete your “to be read” list than during retirement. Reading is a great hobby because it is extremely adaptable to your interests! From fantasy to history to fiction and more, reading provides readers with the ability to look at life through a different perspective, learn about any topic, and get lost in a story. Reading is also great for the brain, as it improves sleep, reduces stress, and supports focus and memory. It can also help prevent the onset of dementia! For those who have poor eyesight or other age-related issues with reading, there are many accessible alternatives, such as large print books, magnifying glasses, and audiobooks.


Joining a choir is a great way to make new friends and form a community of like-minded individuals during your retirement years! If you love to sing, or if you’ve always wanted to learn how, joining a choir might be for you. Studies show that singing and engaging in music make use of multiple parts of the brain at once, while also regulating emotions. Similarly, singing in a group supports the social and mental health of aging individuals, as choir connects people through music. Often, local churches and community theatre groups offer choirs that are free to join and may not require auditions, making them very accessible to retirees and aging individuals.


If you have an interest in your family tree, genealogy is the perfect hobby for you. As your family grows and expands, creating a working map of your family (past and present) is a great use of your retirement years! There are many ways to get involved in genealogy, but the most popular is through genealogy websites like Ancestry or My Heritage. These sites ask you to input basic information about your family, such as their names and birth dates, to search for other relatives that came before you. For those that prefer low-tech options, your local library may have a genealogy section, which, if your family originates from the area, may have information about your recent ancestors. Genealogy is a great way to preserve your family legacy for future generations!


Swimming isn’t just for the warm summer months! This hobby can be practiced any time of the year, if you have access to an indoor pool. Most YMCAs and some local gyms have indoor pools, which can be accessed at a low price and may be discounted for seniors. Swimming is a great way to stay cool and have fun, all while exercising and moving your body. Science shows that swimming is a great hobby for retirees and aging individuals, as it is easy on the joints and supports bone health! Swimming is also a versatile exercise, as there are many ways to work out in the pool, such as water aerobics, laps, and simply walking in water.

Whatever hobbies you pick up during your retirement, enjoy yourself and remember to relax! These years are all about discovering new things about yourself, so branch out and have fun!