Retirement is the time to finally relax and put your feet up after a lifetime of hard work. Though you deserve to take it easy, staying physically and mentally active during retirement is essential to stay fit, happy, and healthy.

If you are looking for some new ideas for activities to stay in good health during retirement, then read on for 10 great ways to stay active in later life.

1. Gardening


Spending time gardening is a great way to keep yourself physically fit. Indeed, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that just 30 minutes of gardening every day meets the required daily physical activity you need and can lower your blood pressure.

Gardening isn’t just good for you physically. Tending and nurturing plants can make you happier overall and reduce stress levels. Producing your own homegrown fruit and veg will also encourage you to eat healthier as there are few things more satisfying than cooking with your own ingredients.

2. Swimming


Swimming is a fantastic activity to boost or maintain physical fitness as all your muscles are exercised when you swim.

Most pools offer sessions, but you can also swim in the sea or other outdoor bodies of water if you can brave the cold. In fact, swimming in cold water is known to boost your immune system and burn more calories as your heart pumps faster in cold water.

Swimming regularly is also a great social activity, as there are many clubs and groups that can provide friendly competition, allowing you to interact with others and make new friends.

3. Hiking


Hiking has it all – challenging walks to keep you fit and an easy way to reduce your risk of disease, all with beautiful scenery along the way.

While exercise is the obvious benefit, hiking can also do wonders for your mental health as it reduces stress levels. The Mental Health Foundation states that there is between a 20% and 30% lower risk of depression, and even dementia, for adults who participate in daily physical activity.

4. Golf


Mark Twain once said that golf is “a good walk spoiled”, but he must not have understood the myriad of health benefits that can be reaped from 18 holes.

Not only does it provide a stimulating mental challenge and goals for you to reach and overcome, but it also does wonders for your physical health. An 18-hole game of golf is usually around a four- to eight-mile walk, which helps you stay fit, will support weight loss, and allow you to maintain a good level of body fat.

5. Puzzles


Stimulating your mind is just as important as keeping physically fit. So, what better way than doing puzzles?

From sudoku to crosswords to chess, there are different types of challenges for everyone that keep your mind active. Puzzles exercise both the right and left side of your brain simultaneously, improve your memory, and allow you to hone your problem-solving skills.

6. Take up a new instrument


If you have always dreamed of learning a new instrument but never had the time, your retirement could be the perfect opportunity to learn.

By disciplining yourself and practising for just one hour a day, you will notice your improvement very quickly and may be amazed by the boost in your creativity.

Learning a new instrument has never been easier as there is a plethora of free tutorials uploaded to the internet or paid classes both online and in-person. Just choose the option that best suits you.

7. Learn to cook exciting new recipes


Cooking your own meals is such an effective way to improve wellness, and not just from eating the delicious new dishes you will concoct.

Research has shown that, by choosing to cook varied and healthy meals using fresh local ingredients, you can help to lower your risk of or improve ongoing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

Alongside being a great stress reduction method, cooking is a social activity. You can get the satisfaction of nurturing others by cooking for them, and you may even be able to impress a few people along the way.

8. Learn a new language


It may seem like a redundant task during retirement, but learning a new language isn’t just for young people.

It is worthwhile to continue your personal growth and challenge yourself, and learning a new language is a great way to do this.

The peer-reviewed journal, Frontiers in Neuroscience, has even shown that by learning a new language during retirement, you can delay the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Compared to monolinguals, bilinguals have been known to have symptoms delayed by around four years.

Besides the health benefits, you will be able to experience different cultures more acutely and form lasting social connections with those you now share a common language with. You could even take a trip and practise your new vocabulary in person!

9. Foster a pet


While owning a pet can be a cathartic experience, it is also a huge commitment as they need constant attention. This may not always be something you want to deal with when you’re supposed to be relaxing.

These days, however, many different pet-sitting services allow you to foster or care for an animal without the total commitment of owning one.

Walking a dog is a fantastic way to get exercise and fresh air, and forming connections with animals can also mitigate loneliness, reduce stress, make you happier, and even improve communication.

10. Start volunteering


Sometimes the best way to spend your retirement is by giving back to your local community.

Whether it is an issue close to your heart, or one that affects your own area, volunteering is a great way to keep the brain active and still feel like you’re doing good at the same time. Alongside the feelings of purpose and accomplishment that volunteering often brings, it can also counter loneliness and isolation during retirement.