There are many things you can do to stay healthy as you age, including eating a healthy diet and not smoking. But did you know that participating in social and other activities you enjoy can also support healthy aging?
As you get older, you may spend more time alone at home. Being lonely or socially isolated is not good for your overall health. For example, it can increase depression or anxiety, which can negatively impact many other aspects of your health. If you find yourself spending a lot of time alone, try to take part in activities that you find meaningful—ones that add meaning to your daily life. This can include hobbies, volunteer work, or spending time with family and friends.
Benefits of an active lifestyle
When you engage in social and productive activities that you enjoy, such as Activities such as taking an art class, joining a hiking club, or volunteering in your community can help maintain your well-being and independence as you age. An active lifestyle is more than just your daily steps. It includes activities that are meaningful to you and benefit your mind, soul and body.
Research has shown that older adults with an active lifestyle:
- Are less likely to develop certain diseases. Participating in hobbies and other social activities can reduce your risk of developing some health problems, including dementia, heart disease, stroke, and some cancers.
- Have a longer lifespan. Studies that look at people’s prospects and life expectancy show that happiness, life satisfaction, and purpose are all associated with longer lives. Doing things you enjoy can help cultivate those positive feelings.
- Are happier and less depressed. Studies suggest that older adults who participate in activities they find meaningful, like volunteering in their communities or being physically active, say they feel happier and healthier.
- Are better prepared to deal with it. When people feel happier and healthier, they are likely to be more resilient, which is our ability to bounce back and bounce back from difficult situations. Positive emotions, optimism, physical and mental health, and purpose are all associated with resilience.
- May be able to improve their thinking skills. Research suggests that participation in certain activities, e.g. B. those that are mentally stimulating or involve physical activity can have a positive effect on memory – and the more varied, the better. Other studies provide new information about how creative activities like music or dance can help older adults with memory problems or dementia.
activities to consider
There are many places where you can look for opportunities to get involved in activities you enjoy, depending on your interests and abilities. Below are ideas that might work for you. Some of these include activities that can be enjoyed even remotely using phones, computers, and other devices. Others can be done alone. Even if you’re in a rural area or have other limitations, you can still find ways to get involved in activities you enjoy.
Connect with family and friends
- Play cards or other games with friends in person or online.
- Are you traveling with a group of older adults, e.g. B. a pensioner group.
- Video chat or call your friends and family members.
- Try different restaurants with your loved ones.
- Listen to favorite music and share it with your family.
- Join a group interested in a hobby like knitting, hiking, bird watching, painting, or wood carving.
- Reconnect with old friends through your high school or college alumni association.
learn something new
- Take a cooking, art, dance, language, or computer class. Contact your local community college or library. Many offer free or discounted classes for older adults. You may even find courses online.
- Start or join a book or film club
- Try yoga, tai chi, or another new physical activity
- Learn (or re-learn) how to play a musical instrument
- Visit local museums. Many offer free group tours and educational programs.
Get more active in your community
- Visit a community or senior center and participate in their events and activities
- Serve meals or organize clothing donations for those in need
- Run errands for people with limited mobility or access to transportation
- Join a committee or help with an activity at your place of worship
- Volunteer at a school, library, museum, hospital, or animal shelter
- Help out with the gardening in a community garden or park
- Arrange a park cleanup through your local recreation center or community association
- Sing in a community choir or play in a local band or orchestra
- Join a local theater group
- Find a local part-time job or explore opportunities online
- Teach a new generation a favorite activity or skill, e.g. B. embroidery, photography, model making, chess, baking, woodwork, calligraphy or quilting
Get out there and move
- Garden (indoors or outdoors) or gardening
- Join a fitness class or do exercises at home
- Go dancing
- Join a sports club for older adults, e.g. B. a bowling club or a boccia league
- Walk or bike with a friend or neighbor
- Take a swimming class
- Play with your grandchildren. Teach them a game or dance that you remember from your childhood
- Take a walk around the neighborhood or on nature trails
Adopt healthy stress-relieving habits
- Read a good book, magazine or newspaper
- Practice gratitude and mindfulness
- Do tai chi or yoga
- Cook your favorite healthy meal
- Enjoy the little things, like a cup of coffee or the sunrise
Learn more about participating in activities
This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA researchers and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date.
Content checked: March 28, 2022