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Retirement Activities List: 120+ Ways to Stay Healthy, Happy, & Busy

There are so many ways to stay active while retired. Explore new hobbies, clubs, and more to find your new favorite things to do while retired and bored.

By: Kaylee Pope, Editor, CheapThriftyLiving.com
Retirement Activities List

Whether your brand new to retired life or just starting out, it is essential to make sure you keep busy! Finding the right mix of retirement hobbies and activities can help you live a happy and healthy retirement. Numerous studies show that staying busy and active is beneficial to your health and can increase your longevity. The retirement activities list below includes 100+ ideas. From fun artistic hobbies to more active sports and outdoor adventures, you are sure to find some excellent ideas to stay busy during retirement.

Many of these activities are low-commitment, and you can try them out before investing in anything longterm. No matter how much time you have or your mobility level, there's sure to be something fun, new, and thrilling to try out. From simple and quick things to do when you're retired and bored to hobbies, you're sure to find something new to try. 

Retirement Hobbies

Staying engaged and active during retirement can lead to numerous health benefits. Busy minds and bodies are just healthier. Hobbies like arts and crafts can stimulate your mind as well as provide a sense of accomplishment. Picking up a hobby and sticking to it a few hours a week will help give a sense of fulfillment. Hobbies provide a perfect outlet for eustress, otherwise known as good stress. Eustress refers to the stress that is not necessarily bad or taxing. Anticipation for a new job, tension during a scary movie, or even being excited to finish a small project are all examples of this. It is vital to keep this sort of stress in your life as it keeps you excited and engaged with your day to day life.

Hobbies are often a fantastic social outlet, as well. If you enjoy a particular type of crafting or skill, there are always guilds or clubs you can join with people who have the same interests. When picking a hobby, consider something that you liked as a kid! If you loved art class, why not pick up some paints and try again?

Arts and Crafts

  1. Crochet
  2. Knitting
  3. Sewing
  4. Quilting
  5. Embroidery
  6. Jewelry Making
  7. Paper Crafting and Collage
  8. Sculpture and Pottery
  9. Watercolor
  10. Photography
  11. Oil Painting
  12. Coloring
  13. Learn a Music Instrument
  14. Writing 
  15. Cooking
  16. Poetry
  17. Spoken Word Poetry
  18. Origami
  19. Acting or Community Theatre
  20. Singing
  21. Swing Dancing
  22. Ballet
  23. Macrame
  24. Card Making
Other Retirement Hobby Ideas
  1. Collecting
  2. Learn a New Skill
  3. Gardening
  4. Woodworking
  5. Board Games
  6. Homebrewing
  7. Chess
  8. Beekeeping
  9. Model Building
  10. Video Games
  11. Thrift Shopping
  12. Fashion or Styling
  13. Magazines

Volunteering

New retirees often struggle to find a sense of purpose. Without job responsibilities every day, it can be challenging to figure out how to spend your time. If you're looking for a way to fill that time meaningfully, consider volunteer opportunities. A study from Psychology and Aging found that volunteering around 4 hours a week leads to a decrease in participants with high blood pressure. 

Getting out of the house and doing something significant helps you gain perspective which can lower your anxiety and stress levels. Just make sure not to overcommit. 

Great Places to Volunteer:

  1. Church Organizations
  2. Sunday Schools
  3. Nature Centers
  4. National Parks
  5. Animal Shelters and Organizations
  6. After School Programs 
  7. Summer Camps
  8. Libraries 
  9. School Lunchrooms or Classrooms
  10. Roadside Clean Up
  11. Colleges and Universities
  12. Meals on Wheels
  13. Head Start
  14. Park Clean Ups
  15. One-Time Events like Festivals
  16. Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops
  17. 4H
Check out volunteer listings on Craigslist, in your local paper, and online via sites like VolunteerMatch.org for opportunities in your area.

Education and Classes

Learning a new skill or sharpening old abilities is a rewarding way to spend your retirement days. A great opportunity for single retirees or couples, education and classes not only fill the time but also has a ton of healthy, fringe benefits. Classes, for example, provide a structured opportunity to socialize. If meeting new people is difficult for you, bonding over classroom material helps foster new relationships. Classes can also help increase your confidence, keep you motivated, and offer a sense of belonging - according to a study completed a study from the University of Oxford.

  1. Art Classes
  2. Photography
  3. Cooking Classes
  4. Baking Classes
  5. Computer and Technology Classes
  6. Community College Classes
  7. History and English Classes
  8. Creative Writing Courses
  9. Exercise Classes
  10. Yoga
  11. Sewing and Quilting Classes
  12. Online Classes
  13. Get Certified to Teach ESL (English as a Second Language)

Social Organizations

Joining social organizations like churches, clubs, and alumni groups are a fun way to strengthen the social and networking opportunities a job no longer provides. Depending on how you like to spend your time, there are likely plenty of organizations in your hometown. Check out local papers and internet listings for church events, book clubs, and alumni organizations. If you're already a member of one of these groups, offer to take a more active role.

  1. Churches
  2. Book Clubs (Start Your Own)
  3. Lunch and Dinner Clubs
  4. Hobby Clubs like Quilting Guilds or Birdwatching Clubs
  5. Volunteer Organizations
  6. Rotary Clubs
  7. School Alumni Clubs
  8. Military Organizations
  9. Libraries

Social Activities

If clubs or organizations are not your cup of tea, there are plenty of other lower commitment ways to socialize. Consider carving out some time with friends by trying out the following ideas:

  1. Host Weekly Dinner Parties
  2. Host Crafting Parties
  3. Teach a Class Yourself
  4. Start a Walking or Jogging Group
  5. Game Nights (Board Games)
  6. Football / Basketball / Baseball Game Parties
  7. Event Watching Parties (like the Oscars or Olympics)

Social Media and the Internet

Retirees who are not as mobile as others or just plain shy often find it easier to socialize online. The internet is an amazing way to reconnect with old friends as well as make new friends. If you are not comfortable with the internet or computers, take a computer literacy course or have a loved one teach you!

Consider trying out the following online activities. 

  1. Meet New Friends Online
  2. Start a Social Media Account (Like Facebook)
  3. Learn a New Language Online
  4. Join Facebook Groups
  5. Join Online Forums
  6. Write Emails to Old Friends
  7. Start an Instagram (for Photos)

Outdoor Activities

No matter what your mobility levels are, you are sure to find a way to spend some time outdoors. Outdoor hobbies are an excellent way to get out of the house and spend some time with your loved ones. According to Harvard Health Publishing, participating in outdoor activities can increase your levels of vitamin D (from the sun), happiness levels, as well as guarantee that you get more exercise. While the hobbies below take some time, they're worth the trip. 

  1. Hiking
  2. Camping
  3. Birdwatching
  4. Kayaking and Canoeing 
  5. Fishing
  6. Hunting
  7. Gardening
  8. Skiing
  9. Biking
  10. Swimming
  11. Snorkeling and Scuba diving
  12. Geocaching
  13. Plant Identification

Sports and Exercise

Even if you only commit to 20 minutes of walking a day, making sure you are physically active is imperative to staying healthy during retirement. When you're in the working world, your default state is a lot more mobile. Make sure to get out of the house for a walk or even a light run. If you're looking for something more, consider one of the sports or exercise ideas below. Always be sure to consult a doctor before committing to a new exercise routine as you do not want to over-exert or injure yourself.

  1. Walking
  2. Running / Jogging
  3. Join a Gym
  4. Racketball
  5. Tennis
  6. Golf
  7. Team Sports
  8. Bowling
  9. Join a Gym
  10. Baseball
  11. Basketball 
  12. Touch Football
  13. Horseback Riding
  14. Mini Golf
  15. Biking

Make Extra Income

While retirement, by definition, means you stop working, it never hurts to have a little bit of extra income. Whether you have some unexpected expenses or just want a productive way to keep busy, a part-time job or even a freelance gig can help supplement your savings as well as keep you occupied and productive. Before taking on any new work, make sure that you are willing and able to complete the task. We recommend taking on a little at a time by starting with 4 to 5 hours a week. You can easily explore income options that allow you to shape your own schedule through opportunities like selling items on eBay or blogging.

  1. Americorps
  2. Part Time Jobs
  3. Work for a Non-Profit
  4. Pro-Bono Work in Your Field
  5. Selling on eBay
  6. Freelance Writing and Copywriting
  7. Driving Lyft or Uber
  8. Blogging
  9. Making and Selling Things
  10. Babysit or Nanny
  11. Substitute Teach

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Hubby retired 10 years ago. I just retired at the end of 2017 and am looking forward to getting my house in order. Started a blog, wrote an ebook, took a college class during the last few years. Looking forward to being more active in church, American Legion Aux.', and 2 different motorcycle groups. Want to promote blog through public speaking this is addition to decluttering, down-sizing possessions, staging, and finally spending more time cooking, reading, and spending quality time with hubby. The list is great, everyone should be able to find inspiration.

I have been retired for about 5 years now and quite often, my biggest problem is having too much to do! I think any crafter can find something to do most of the time, but one thing we need to remember is that our energy levels are not as good as they once were and we move slower, too. The key is to keep your mind busy without overwhelming your body. Crafts are excellent for that.

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