Engaging hobbies for seniors

Whether seniors are retired or still working but free from the responsibilities of parenting, the following are some fun and engaging hobbies to fill that free time.

The value of hobbies is undeniable. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology found that employees who engaged in creative hobbies outside of work were more creative on work projects and had a better attitude on the job, while a separate study published in Psychosomatic Medicine in 2009 reported that individuals who engaged in enjoyable leisure activities had lower blood pressure and a smaller waist circumference.

The myriad benefits of hobbies is good news for seniors, many of whom have ample time for leisure activities. Whether seniors are retired or still working but free from the responsibilities of parenting, the following are some fun and engaging hobbies to fill that free time.

· Cooking: Years spent hustling and bustling through the daily grind of personal and professional obligations might have forced individuals to embrace cooking that emphasized convenience over culinary skill. Now that there's more time to embrace one's inner Emeril, seniors can look to cooking classes or take the self-taught route and purchase a new cookbook filled with delicious recipes. A well-cooked homemade meal can provide a sense of accomplishment and affords seniors an opportunity to control the ingredients in the foods they eat, which can be important for individuals with health-related dietary restrictions.

· Writing: Many successful individuals have penned their memoirs after long, notable careers and lives. While individuals needn't follow suit with the goal of making their memoirs public, writing can be a great way for seniors to document their own lives and the lives of their families. Interest in genealogy has risen considerably in recent years, as easily accessible websites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe.com have made it easier than ever for individuals to learn where they came from. Seniors can contextualize the information provided by genealogy websites by writing about their personal experiences and sharing what they know about the lives of their parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members.

· Gardening: Seniors looking for hobbies that get them out in the great outdoors need look no further than their own backyards. Gardening can benefit the body in myriad ways. According to the Mayo Clinic Health System, gardening can burn as many calories as working out in the gym. In addition, the MCHS notes that individuals who grow their own fruits and vegetables are more likely to include those foods in their own diets, thus saving them money at the grocery store and also increasing their intake of nutrient-rich foods.

· Swimming: Swimming is an ideal exercise for seniors, as it's low-impact but still a great way to utilize the entire body. A 2007 study published in the journal Quality of Life Research found that water-based exercise improves older adults' quality of life and decreases disability. A separate study published in 2008 in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that water-based exercise can improve or help to maintain bone health in post-menopausal women.

These are just a few of the many hobbies seniors can pursue as they look for positive and fun ways to spend their free time.



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