Three Popular Hobbies for Seniors

Now that working and raising kids are in the rearview mirror, you likely have a good amount of time to explore the hobbies you may not have been able to pursue in the past. Popular hobbies for seniors can be fun, engaging, and even positively influence your health.

Research from Concordia University suggests that hobbies keep the mind engaged and help keep seniors mentally healthy. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggests that leisure-time physical activity can extend your life. We’ll look at three popular hobbies for seniors that have drawn millions into their fold.

1. Genealogy

Genealogy is one of the hobbies for seniors that keeps on giving. It’s fun to unravel the mysteries of the past, and you never know what fascinating tidbits you might unearth during your research. If you combine a genealogy hobby with scrapbooking, you’ll have a beautiful family keepsake to pass down from generation to generation.

Start your search on the Internet with FamilySearch.org, a free site sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Another popular free site is The WorldGenWeb Project. Cross-check your information to ensure accuracy. DigitalTrends.com lists some popular free and subscription sites to help in your family search.

2. SilverSneakers

SilverSneakers combines exercise with social activities and is hosted by 11,000 YMCAs and other participating centers. Many supplemental health plans offer Silver Sneakers memberships as a perk.

SilverSneakers exercise programs are designed exclusively for seniors. Social activities include potluck dinners, lectures, and classes. Community businesses occasionally host events for seniors at SilverSneakers locations, and some centers allow you to participate in one of the most popular hobbies for seniors — the game of bridge.

3. Kick Up Your Heels

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine and summarized by Stanford University reached a stunning conclusion: Dancing may be the best all-around activity for active seniors. In addition to providing the usual benefits of cardiovascular exercise — enhanced sense of well-being, reduction in stress, and increase in serotonin levels — dance helps maintain muscle tone and balance. But wait, there’s more. The study found that dancing was far superior to other activities and hobbies for seniors — including swimming, golf, and working crossword puzzles — in its ability to positively affect cognitive abilities. Frequent dancing showed a whopping 76 percent effective rate in guarding against dementia. And other studies have reached similar conclusions.

There are two major reasons dance is so effective in sharpening cognition. First, you are required to make split-second decisions, particularly when dancing with a partner if you’re the “follower.” Second, dancing integrates a number of brain functions while you’re on the dance floor having fun. There are many opportunities for dance at community centers and at independent- and assisted-living facilities, so dig out your dancing shoes and hit the dance floor. It’s a great way to socialize, exercise, and sharpen your mind at the same time.

If these three hobbies don’t strike your fancy, fire up your browser and head over to Pinterest. You’ll find hobbies you never imagined, and once you tickle your imagination, you’ll probably want to scratch the itch.

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