10 Best Retirement Hobby Suggestions (and More) for Seniors

March 12, 2024 | News | Reading Time 13:00 Minutes

Congratulations on retiring! Or, perhaps you haven’t retired yet, but you’re looking for a few fun ways to enjoy your newfound freedom.

You’ll have way more time on your hands than you did before. But the simple problem is, what do you do with all that time?

We get it. We all want to do what we can to ensure a long, happy, and healthy life. And there’s no reason you won’t so long as you practice healthy habits.

One of those healthy habits is having healthy hobbies. Village Walk here: we’re your go-to senior independent living experts based out of Patchogue, New York.

Our staff has decades of combined experience providing assisted living and memory care solutions for seniors who want to live — and enjoy their hobbies — in community with others.

If you’re looking for inspiration for hobbies for the golden years of your life, you’ve come to the right place. Join us!

Whether you’re thinking of assisted living or other long-term care solutions, the following retirement hobbies are great for seniors transitioning into the next chapter of their life.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best outdoor, social, creative, and intellectual hobbies for seniors who are retiring or are in retirement. Come along for the ride as we explore the best retirement hobbies.

Why hobbies in retirement are important for seniors

A couple smiling and dancing together

Hobbies in retirement play a huge role in ensuring we stay fit and active until the end of our days. In fact, studies show that having a serious creative hobby is related to how happy and satisfied a person is in retirement.

As such, it’s important to have a few different activities to help keep your mind, body, heart, and soul active and alive. Doing so is a way to help keep you living long and well into your golden years.

The benefits of a healthy retirement hobby

A young girl helping an elderly woman hang ornaments on a tree

Retirement hobbies don’t only help you feel more satisfied with life. Practicing engaging hobbies also has a wide variety of mental and spiritual benefits.

According to Nature Medicine, some of those benefits include feeling in control of your mind and body, having a stronger sense of purpose, and feeling more competent with daily life. Remaining active in retirement can also ensure we develop new skills, sharpen old ones, and can even decrease the risks of heart disease and other physical and mental conditions.

Looking for inspiration for new hobbies in retirement? We’ll discuss some of the best hobbies for retirement to ensure your mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

The 10 best retirement activities for seniors

A senior citizen smiling and looking up while holding a special drink

The best retirement activities are those that touch on our mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being, our social lives, and our desire for purpose and spirituality.

Our top 10 retirement activities for seniors include:

  1. Walking and hiking (outdoor hobby)
  2. Gardening (outdoor hobby)
  3. Taking continuing education classes (intellectual hobby)
  4. Board games and puzzles (intellectual hobby)
  5. Crafting, carpentry, and woodworking (creative hobby)
  6. Writing stories, songs, poems, and more (creative hobby)
  7. Volunteering (social activity)
  8. Book (and other) clubs (social activity)
  9. Traveling (general activity)
  10. Tai chi, yoga, and meditation (general activity)

1. Walking and hiking (outdoor hobby)

A senior living community enjoying walking with Walk to End Alzeheimer's

Walking and hiking outdoors has tremendous benefits for our physical well-being. Besides for keeping our hearts healthy and our bodies strong and limber, walking and hiking can also be paired with other healthy activities.

Whether you’re photographing birds in nature or chatting with a beloved friend or family member, spending time walking — or in nature — can be of tremendous value to retirees as you’ll find in the next section on gardening.

2. Gardening (outdoor hobby)

A senior citizen holding a bushel of apples

Not only do gardens look pretty, but gardening has many benefits for seniors in retirement. Research has shown that older adults who garden — or are even simply in the garden for extended time — report feeling more productive, having higher self-esteem, and engaging in more social activity.

Gardening also has the added benefit of giving seniors a finished product they can take home with them. The warm and satisfying feeling of eating green peppers raised in the garden — or sharing a rose with a loved one — is just one of the many outdoor activities and hobby ideas worth exploring into retirement.

3. Taking continuing education classes (intellectual hobby)

A senior citizen and younger people smiling at the camera

With open online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning now available, it’s never been a better time to learn a new skill or take that favorite class you put off during your career. If you’re looking for some ideas of where to take classes, city civic centers are a wonderful place to start.

They provide art classes, skills-based classes, and more. Seniors can dive deeper into a subject they’ve always dreamed of exploring at a civic center.

Consider checking into your local civic center to see which classes are available in your area. 

4. Board games and puzzles (intellectual hobby)

Senior citizens enjoying a hobby of board games

If you’re looking for something to keep your mind sharp, board games and puzzles are your best bet. They’re a great way to reduce the risk of dementia, cognitive decline, and even depression.

The best part about board games is that people of all ages can participate. Whether pulling out a game of Scrabble at dinner or enjoying a round of Backgammon with grandchildren, board games can help seniors remain socially active and well.

5. Crafting, carpentry, and woodworking (creative hobby)

A senior citizen and assisted living facility staff member making crafts

Similar to board games, craft games, carpentry, and woodworking are other popular hobbies among older men and women in their retirement years. Many clubs exist for retired men and women to engage in woodworking, which allows them to make new friends and stay active.

Alternatively, other clubs like knitting, crocheting, and quilting exist for those who prefer a more quiet activity. Craft hobbies are a beautiful hobby for seniors who like using their hands.

6. Writing stories, songs, poems, and more (creative hobby)

A close-up macro picture of written words on a piece of paper

Having lived a long, illustrious career and life full of adventures, why not share your story with the world? One of the best ideas for hobbies after retirement is writing.

The world deserves to hear about the places, people, and experiences you’ve had in your life. Writing is a creative endeavor that can help you live with greater clarity.

It’s a great hobby, especially if you’ve always wanted to write that memoir of yours. Sharing your ideas with the world can help improve your life and the lives of others.

7. Volunteering (social activity)

A group of Village Walk staff and residents cooking food

One of our favorite ways to socialize with others is through volunteering. Research shows that social activity with others in the service of something greater is linked to prolonged life.

One of the advantages of retirement communities that offer assisted living and memory care is that all event set up is taken care of for residents. But if you don’t live in a retirement community, no problem.

Many seniors also find opportunities to volunteer by seeking out worthy organizations on their own time. Regardless, volunteering is a great way to boost overall well-being and enjoy the company of others.

The best hobby of all: giving back

Did you know that giving back to your community is a rewarding way to meet new people and put your unique skills to use?

Get great ideas for your next retirement hobby by taking a look at some of the activities we host for our seniors.

8. Book clubs and more (social activity)

Elderly senior citizens reading a book in book club

One of our top hobbies on our retirement hobbies list is book clubs. Joining a book club is a great way to meet people with similar interests and values.

It’s also a smart way to keep your mind active and engaged. By listening to and sharing opinions on a topic with others, seniors can meet new people and learn something new. They can rest easy knowing that doing so helps them live a longer, happier, and healthier life.

9. Traveling (general activity)

Senior citizens smiling with the Statue of Liberty in the background

Many seniors have worked their whole lives. Now that they have more time on their hands, “It’s time to finally explore the world!” you’ll often hear.

Traveling is a great hobby for retirees who are in good health. Travel can get you out of your comfort zone and help you stay sharp in your mind and body.

Just remember: if you’re considering traveling for extended time out of the country, prepare yourself by reaching out to your local family physician. If traveling abroad, we also studying a foreign language in to better prepare for your trip.

10. Tai chi, yoga, and meditation (general activity)

A silhouette of a person with their arms open at sunset

As part of maintaining mental and physical health, tai chi, yoga, and meditation are some of your best bets. Tai chi and yoga can help relieve stress. They’re some of the best light exercise-based hobbies and activities for seniors.

Qi gong and ballroom dancing are also great low-impact exercise activities. All of these activities are great options for promoting health and wellness.

Bonus activity: cooking (and eating)

Two elderly women enjoying a delicious meal

Lest we forget: cooking. Cooking is also a great way to keep the mind sharp.

Plus, it’s a great way to socialize with others. Whether learning a new recipe or trying new foods, cooking keeps the brain active and engaged. Plus, it tastes great!

Table: Healthy retirement activities for seniors

Healthy retirement activities for mental and physical healthUnhealthy retirement activities for mental and physical health
1. Walking and hiking (outdoor hobby)
2. Gardening (outdoor hobby)
3. Taking continuing education classes (intellectual hobby)
4. Board games and puzzles (intellectual hobby)
5. Crafting, carpentry, and woodworking (creative hobby)
6. Writing stories, songs, poems, and more (creative hobby)
7. Volunteering (social activity)
8. Book (and other) clubs (social activity)
9. Traveling (general activity)
10. Tai chi, yoga, and meditation (general activity)
11. Cooking (general activity)

1. Excessive drinking
2. Excessive screen time
3. Excessive exercise
4. Smoking

Healthy retirement hobbies start with healthy living

Two elderly women smiling and laughing with salads in front of them on the table

And there you have it. Our top 10 retirement activities for seniors include:

  1. Walking and hiking (outdoor hobby)
  2. Gardening (outdoor hobby)
  3. Taking continuing education classes (intellectual hobby)
  4. Board games and puzzles (intellectual hobby)
  5. Crafting, carpentry, and woodworking (creative hobby)
  6. Writing stories, songs, poems, and more (creative hobby)
  7. Volunteering (social activity)
  8. Book (and other) clubs (social activity)
  9. Traveling (general activity)
  10. Tai chi, yoga, and meditation (general activity)

At the end of the day, the best retirement hobbies are those that relieve stress, promote your physical health and wellness, and give you time to enjoy what matters most.

In our assisted living and memory care facilities, we make sure seniors and their families feel comfortable and safe. Bar none.

Whether you decide to take a memoir writing class or prefer a favorite pastime activity like gardening, we’re in the business of keeping you happy and healthy.

For more information about retirement hobbies and living communities that support them, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly and compassionate senior living concierge staff. We’d be happy to help!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

An adult male and senior female smiling with a Village Walk digital sign in the background

What makes a retirement hobby “healthy”?

A healthy retirement hobby is up to interpretation. By nature, retirement hobbies are purposeful and fulfilling.

Moreover, a healthy retirement hobby addresses aspects of health and wellness in a senior’s life. Retirement hobbies that allow seniors to express themselves in mind, body, and spirit are considered healthy.

What hobbies can be potentially unhealthy for a senior?

Like most things, moderation is key. Most hobbies can veer into unhealthy territory if not practiced in moderation.

However, excessive exercise, drinking, smoking, and screen time can harm senior citizens. So that seniors have the right support for their hobbies, they’ll want to receive the right level of care.

If you or a loved one need basic help with hobbies or activities of daily living (ADL), don’t hesitate to reach out to a senior living staff advisor for more information on helping your elderly loved one find the right help for their needs.

I’ve heard participating in retirement hobbies with others helps us live longer. Is that true?

Yes! It does.

Research shows that near-daily social activity with others is related to living longer. Participating in hobbies and activities with others can help you stay healthy in mind, body, heart, and soul.

If you’re looking for a retirement community in the Long Island area where you’ll have the opportunity to socialize with others day in and day out, don’t hesitate to inquire about Village Walk’s senior living solutions.

“He’s been able to create so many new relationships.”

A smiling senior dancing with his hands in the air

My uncle has been living at Village Walk for the past 2 years, and I wouldn’t want to change a thing. He’s able to socialize all day and create so many new relationships.

He’s always busy doing something in the building or out on a trip. I am even able to attend some of the parties there, too, and the staff make me feel welcome.

The most important thing for me is that my uncle feels safe, and he does.” – Village Walk family member