How Can I Stay Active in Retirement? | 30 Helpful Ideas


You are probably wondering; how can I stay active in retirement? Retirement is an exciting new chapter in your life, where a lot is changing. It can be challenging to stay active once you retire.

When you stop working, you might miss out on different opportunities to stay active, that were work-related. It is completely normal when you struggle with this transition a bit. Many retirees do so!

In this article I’ll share 30 ideas for activities you can do while you’re retired. At the end of the article i’m focusing more on the importance of staying active, and how it can help you with healthy aging, and having a great time in retirement. So, when you finished reading this article, you’ll have many ideas and helpful tips on how to stay active in your retirement. Let’s get started!

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1. Go Swimming

Swimming is probably the best workout you can do in retirement. With swimming, you use almost all your muscles because of the resistance of your body vs the water, and the chances of getting an injury are very low. Look for (indoor) pools near you, get swimming lessons or jump in a nearby lake or ocean to do swimming.

2. Water/ Aqua Aerobics

An alternative to swimming laps is doing aerobics in the water. Look for a water aerobics lesson nearby you and maybe you make some new friends along the way.

3. Hiking in Nature

Being in nature is good for the body, mind, and soul. Viewing beautiful sceneries in nature reduces anger, fear, and stress. Being in nature will make you feel better emotionally and hiking also contributes to your physical wellbeing.

We all know that being outside benefits your health, and can improve your mood. One of the reasons is because of negative ions. These are molecules that are outside, and you can’t see, but are charged with electricity. Negative Ions helps with improving energy, read more about them in this interesting article on Healthline.

4. Follow Yoga Classes

Yoga is originated in India and is both spiritual and physical. It uses breathing techniques, exercise, and meditation. It helps to improve health and happiness.

You don’t have to be spiritual to practice Yoga you can use it to improve your strength, flexibility, and mind-body awareness. You can start lessons at a yoga school or watch YouTube tutorials at home.

There are over 11 types of different yoga styles that ranch from more physically demanding to easy, relaxing, meditative yoga. Here are the 11 types explained so you can find out which yoga type fits you the best.

5. Playing Golf

Playing golf is a nice hobby but also a great exercise for your body. If you’re playing 18 holes you will walk between four to eight miles. So playing golf a couple of times a week will improve muscle tone and endurance.

6. Start Dancing

Dancing makes you feel good. And research has shown that dancing gives a much bigger release of endorphins than during other forms of exercise and it connects to emotional centers of the brain where you will let go and release emotions. Which is always a good thing.

7. Take A Pilates Class

Pilates is similar to Yoga because it also improves your body’s flexibility but it focuses more on relaxing tense muscles. It’s a great option if you have a couple of injuries which makes you limited in doing exercising.

8. Start With Tai Chi

Originally Tai Chi is developed for self-defense. But it’s now evolved into a very popular exercise among seniors because of the gentle flowing movements and graceful form of exercise that reduces stress. Tai Chi is described as meditation in motion.

9. Start Gardening

Gardening makes your body do all sorts of movements so it’s a good exercise while you’re out in nature. While gardening you do a lot of squatting, bending, walking, lifting, digging, and so. So you will keep your joints active and your mind more positive and creative.

Are you looking for gardening inspiration? A great inspirational course is Ron Finley’s Masterclass. Ron Finley is a famous gardener from LA. He explains how you can easily and creatively start with your own garden, without needing professional tools, you probably have everything you need at home. Check out Ron Finley’s gardening Masterclass here.

10. Foster A Pet

With fostering a pet you have to stay active to take good care of the pet. For example, fostering a dog is walking a couple of times a day. On PetsitUSA you list yourself as a pet sitter.

11. Solving Puzzles

Solving puzzles helps you reinforce existing connections between your brain cells and it also allows you to improve your general knowledge, cognitive skills, memory, concentration, and problem-solving. You can buy puzzles, solve a crossword puzzle in the newspaper every day, or find great puzzles like Sudoku online to stay active.

12. Learn New Skills

Learning a new skill is fun and a good wat to stay mentally active in retirement. There are many ways you can start learning something new. You can find new courses on YouTube or Pinterest, both are very straightforward when you’re looking for inspiration. However, I think that one of the best ways to follow a new course is via Masterclass, online classes from the most famous and successful people in the world!

13. Learn To Play A Music Instrument

Learning to play a music instrument is a mentally challenging activity but it also helps you to be more creative. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano or how to play a guitar but you didn’t have the time for it. If you discipline yourself to work on it one hour every day you will surprise yourself what you have learned over a year. Did you know that on Masterclass you can follow a course of the famous Carlos Santana! How cool is that!?

14. Learn A New Language

Learning a new language is also a good way to stay mentally active in retirement. It’s a good work-out for the brain because it’s proven benefits for intelligence, memory, and concentration. Learning a new language is complex that makes the brain stronger. You can use Babbel online to learn.

15. Read A Book

Reading makes your brain stronger, it improves your memory better and it inspires you and helps you te become more open-minded.

16. Start Cooking

Cooking encourages your creativity. It makes you feel good about yourself because it’s a way to nurture others. And cooking brings also people together. It’s socializing. From baking, cooking a meal, shopping for the food to sitting down, and eat together. If you don’t know how to cook, or when you want to improve your skills, you can find great courses on Masterclass. My favorite cooking course on Masterclass is learning how to cook Italian from Massimo Buttora;

17. Start With Meditation

There are many forms of meditation, which all can benefit you in a similar way. And although in Western society meditation gets more and more accepted, there’s also still a large group of people that think mediation is something weird to do. However, meditation benefits your health and helps with staying mentally fit. You can read more about the health benefits in this article of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH).

For years I’ve been meditating almost daily, sometimes several times a day. Many people often ask me what meditation does for me, I always tell them this;

Basically, meditation helps me to process the emotions and events of the day. It helps to clear my mind, and see what’s really important. The trick with meditation is not to judge your different thoughts that Popups in your head while meditating. Just accept them and letting it go. I use the smartphone app Headspace, which is a great meditation tool with the first 10 guided meditation for free.

18. Build Your Family Tree

Stay active by diving deeper into your family history and build a family tree. On Family Echo and Ancestry, you can build your family tree online for free. And with Family Search, you can search your ancestors.

19. Write A Novel, Your Memoirs or A Family History Book

Get creative and write a book. This can be a novel or your family history book you can pass on to the next generation. And writing is good for your brain. It creates a similar state similar to meditation. It also strengthens your imagination and helps heal and process wounds and grief of the past.

There are many writing styles you can use when writing down your story. If you want to become better in a particular writing style or when you want to improve your writing skills in general, I recommend following a writing course via Masterclass.

20. Listen To Podcasts

You can listen to podcasts almost ever)Podcasts can be very informative and if you have an interest that you want to know more about you can look for a podcast on that certain topic. Via Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

21. Watch Inspirational TED Talks

Instead of Netflixing your retirement day you can also get inspired and get new ideas and perspectives by watching inspirational TED Talks.

22. Maintain A Healthy Diet

We all know that feeling when you’ve eaten too much, you’re becoming exhausted, better known as ‘food coma’. It is actually not that good for your health, but hey, we all like our comfort foods once in a while, right?
Did you know that the things we eat, can also have an impact on how we feel, our brain activity, and thus how we stay mentally fit? This article on Medical News Today shares 12 types of food that are good for your brains.

Maintaining a healthy diet also helps to stay physically active. Healthy eating is good for your overall health. The CDC shares some interesting and helpful guidelines on how to keep up with a healthy diet.

Staying mentally active in retirement
Playing chess is a great way to stay mentally active in retirement

23. Apply For A Job

It might sound ought, you just go retired from your work, and now you should apply for a new job? Well, many retirees keep working a side job for one or two days a week. There are actually many benefits when you keep working for a few days. You can earn some extra money, and meet new people. Which helps to stay socially active.

You can find a helpful list of jobs in my article; The Best 50 Jobs For Retirees.

24. Do Volunteer Work

Doing volunteer work is one of the most popular ways to stay active during retirement and is one of the most fulfilling activities. Because you get the help other which ultimately makes you a happier person. Check Volunteer.gov for volunteer jobs.

Volunteering is actually a very popular among retirees, read more about it in my article, Why Do Retirees Volunteer?

25. Start or Join A Club

The easiest way to make friends is to find people with the same interest as you. On Meet Up you can find clubs nearby you.

26. Take Classes

By taking a class at a school or community center near you’ll learn a new skill and meet new people. Did you know that many colleges and universities in the United States offer free or discounted classes for seniors?

Here’s a list of programs across the country. It is an excellent opportunity to keep learning and staying socially active. And when learning, it also helps to stay mentally active.

When you’re rather learning from home, you might want to follow a class via Masterclass. You can find several online courses on Masterclass, given by the best and most famous people in the world. You can make it a social activity when you follow a class with your spouse, friend, or neighbor.

27. Write Letters To Other Seniors

Become a pen pile and write letters to other seniors. A lot of people in nursing and retirement homes feel lonely and receiving a nice letter can make their week. You can send letters through the organization Love for the Elderly who will spread the letters around seniors.

28. Become A Mentor

If you don’t want all your experience and wisdom within your job field go to waste you can think of mentoring youngsters of students to stay active in retirement. You will teach the next generation and being surrounded by young people keeps you young as well. You can become a mentor via the online organization Mentoring.

When you want to improve your mentoring or coaching skills and become a certified international coach, I recommend following a course via Coach Star Alliance. This online platform works according to a train the trainer principle, which means you can improve your coaching skills by learning from other coaches. A unique opportunity to become a better coach and share your experience! Find out their programs here.

Coach Training Accelerator Online

29. Babysit Your Grandchildren

One of the perks of being retired is that you can spend as much time with your family as you want. You can stay busy by babysitting your grandchildren that will save your children a lot of money on childcare.

30. Travel The World

Dust off your bucket list and start traveling the world. It’s the most adventurous way to stay active and you’ll meet a lot of new people from all walks of life. You might find my article How To Travel The World After Retirement a helpful read.

In my How To Retire Guide I explain more in-depth about the many health benefits of being social in retirement and give you more ideas and tips on how to seek social interaction in your retired life.

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Staying socially active in retirement
Joining a band is a great way to stay socially active in retirement

Benefits Of Staying Active In Your Retirement

Your best life lies ahead of you, so you want to make sure you stay active with fulfilling activities and the great things you always wanted to do.

However, it might sound easier said than done. According to the American Time Use Survey of the BLS, most Americans spent their leisure with watching television. 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. I love watching TV programs myself. It’s fun and relaxing, but it is not very active. So, it is important to find the right balance between relaxing activities like watching television and physically and mentally challenging activities.

Staying Physically Active in Retirement

It is beneficial to stay physically active in life. Physical activity helps you stay strong and fit. According to this article on Harvard Health Publishing, physical activity and exercising are related to health benefits like reducing stress. 

Exercising or more physical activity can also be as simple as taking the stairs a lot more often or leaving your car at home to do groceries on foot. But it’s good to know why exercising is good for you.

The CDC shares a lot of interesting information regarding the importance of physical activity. According to this article from the CDC, physical activity is linked to healthy aging. They say it can prevent many health problems that are related to age. It helps to keep your muscles stronger. Thus, it becomes easier for you to keep doing your day-to-day activities without being dependent on the help of others.

In the same article, they share examples of different exercises that you can do daily. These examples are all very straightforward exercises that anyone with a moderate fitness level can do. In this article, the CDC says that these exercises can be followed, and I quote, “If you’re 65 years of age or older, are generally fit, and have no limiting health conditions.”

Generally, their advice is to do at least physical aerobic activity for 150 minutes a week and muscle strength training a minimum of 2 times a week. Also, they say if you do even more moderate physical activity, like 60 minutes a day for 5 days a week (which is around 300 minutes a week), it will result in even more health benefits.

Many forms of physical activities are taken place in groups, which helps not only to stay physically active but also to stay mentally and socially active.

Staying Mentally Active In Retirement

Maintaining your mental health is evenly important as staying physically active in retirement. Keeping your brain healthy improves your memory, concentration, and general problem-solving abilities. So include mentally challenging activities in your daily retirement schedule to stay mentally fit and active. I share more in-depth information in my article How Do I Keep My Brain Active After I Retire

Staying Socially Active In Retirement

In retirement, you want to expand your social circle. Spending time with friends and family is very important to live a happy life.

However, there is a chance that you lost some social interaction in your retirement. For many retirees there social life was connected to their work life. And since you’re not working anymore, there are fewer social interactions a day.

You might want to expand your social circle with new friends, because being socially active is linked to many health benefits, according to this article on Harvard Health Publishing.

If you want to make new friends, you have to get out there and get out of your comfort zone. The only way to meet new people is to immerse yourself in new environments and surroundings.

Recommended Articles

Preparing for your retirement is essential to get the most out of your retirement. I always try to be as helpful as possible, and share the most helpful and inspirational tips and tricks with you. So that you can prepare in the best way possible for your retirement. The following articles might be interesting for you to read as well:

How To Structure Your Retirement Day?

Having a daily routine, doing fulfilling activities, setting goals, and sticking to a sleeping schedule is a great start to having a more structured retirement day. 

Read more: How To Structure Your Retirement Day?

What Are Cheap Things To Do In Retirement?

Collecting, gardening, reading, host a game night, join a club, volunteer, become a tour guide, write a book, build your family tree, hiking, foster a pet, babysit your grandchildren, meditation and watching inspirational TEDTalks are all cheap things to do in retirement.

Read more: 71 Cheap Things To Do In Retirement That Are Fun Too

What Are The Best Jobs For Retirees?

The most popular jobs for retirees are teaching, mentoring, consulting, being a driver, a tour guide at national parks, or work at events. You can choose to become a freelancer, where you will have the freedom of flexible hours. Or apply to a company where you have the benefit of meeting new people and expand your social circle in retirement.

Read more: The 50 Best Jobs For Retirees

Kirsten Veldman

I'm Kirsten. In 2017, my boyfriend Léon, and I decided to retire from the rat race to travel the world and work and live location independently. With my articles, I want to help people enjoy and celebrate retirement in the best way possible.

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