7 healthy hobbies for older adults to stay physically and mentally fit

Sunrise Senior Living  |  August 17, 2017
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We all know intrinsically that some of our favorite things to do aren’t that good for us. 

If some of your favorite pastimes leave you feeling a little dull around the edges, perhaps it’s time to find some new hobbies.

Watching too much TV is a prime example of a hobby that doesn’t exactly help you with your mental or physical fitness goals. On the other hand, you don’t have to be a yoga fanatic or a master of vegan baking techniques to enjoy hobbies that contribute to your health.

As you’ll see below, many healthy hobbies can be just as much fun as the bad ones.

Seven Hobbies That Make You Healthier

In the spirit of staying physically and mentally fit, here are seven examples of hobbies that are actually good for you.

1. Bird Watching

As hobbies go, it’s hard to beat bird watching or ‘birding’ as it’s called by enthusiasts. Here’s why.

Benefits of Birding

Birding is...

  • Physical. Just being outdoors is good for you. Plus, you’re often moving around so you’re staying physically fit.
  • Mental. Birding often involves long periods of time waiting quietly in a natural setting. There’s lots of time for peaceful introspection with no distractions.
  • Good for your soul. Birders gain a strong appreciation for nature, which is like medicine for the soul.
  • Great for keeping you alert. Birders may suddenly have to snap out of their contemplation and grab those binoculars (or camera) if a bird appears.
  • Social. Birders often flock together in groups to trek after birds. Their common interest draws them together off the field, too, as they gather to discuss and compare notes.

2. Golfing

Almost everything that can be said about the benefits of birding can also be said of golf. Sure, golf courses are completely landscaped but you’re still outdoors enjoying the fresh air.

In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, there’s a social aspect that’s great for your health, too. In fact, golf is one of the more social hobbies out there. 

In celebration of National Golf Month, here are a few more reasons to play golf.

Golf is…

  • Social.  Even if you’re not playing a full round, there’s the clubhouse where golfers meet friends for lunch.
  • Physical.  Golf requires walking around and swinging a club. Even if you use a golf cart, you’re still moving about quite a bit.
  • Mental. Whether you’re trying to shave points off your game or just trying to hit the fairway, golf requires mental discipline and concentration.
  • Psychological. Golf can boost your ego, too. Every small victory, from a successful putt to an actual win, makes you confident. That is great for your psychological well-being.

3. Gardening

Like birding and golf, gardening gets you outdoors next to nature. It’s also physical and offers many of the same benefits listed in #1 and #2. In fact, the rest of the healthy hobbies on our list are all, in some way or another, similar to birding and golfing. And they offer many of the same benefits.

4. Photography

If your subjects are located outdoors, then photography counts as a hobby that helps improve physical fitness. Even when you’re photographing indoor subjects, it can be a physical activity simply because you sometimes have to bend down to get the right angle. It’s often a social hobby, which is good for you, too.

5. Join a Walking Club

The physical benefits of walking are obvious, but there are also social benefits. Joining a neighborhood walking group can help you feel more engaged and connected to your community. Even having a buddy you walk and talk with can help lift your spirits and boost your mood.

6. Cooking

One of the many joys of cooking is providing healthy meals for friends and family. Some people make a hobby out of cooking by attending cooking classes near their homes. Cooking is active because you’re on your feet slicing, dicing and chopping. It’s social because you share it with others, either in a class or by serving them what you’ve cooked up.

7. Taking Classes

Keeping an open mind to new ways of doing things is great for the mind. One of the best ways to learn about new ideas is to take a class. Many people say that one of the best advantages of senior living is close proximity to a wide range of enrichment classes.

Residents at Sunrise Senior Living communities enjoy a variety of fascinating classes. That’s because learning is one of the pillars of well-being that’s built into the Sunrise Signature Experience. Call us to find out more or check the most recent activity calendar at a Sunrise community near you.