20 Amazing Ways To Live Life to the Fullest When You Retire
Good news: According to a recent Gallup poll, the average retirement age in the US for those currently retired is 61. That said, there are plenty of ways to stay active when you're finally done.
The world after the workforce isn't just your oyster, it's an oyster largely free to eat - if you know where to look, then. These free, retirement-friendly activities are good for your bank account, and many offer great health benefits too. Read on to see that some of the best things in life are really free.
Last updated: October 12, 2020
Immersing yourself in the beauty of nature is one of the easiest and most fulfilling activities to do in retirement. What's even better is that it offers health benefits like stress relief and cardiovascular fitness. Find a free outdoor adventure near you on AmericanTrails.org.
Go (book) clubbing
If you have a computer and zip code, you can find a local book club - or even start your own. Not only will you learn by reading, but cuddling with a book every day is one of the most relaxing activities for seniors and can extend your lifespan, according to a 2016 study in the journal Social Science and Medicine.
Related: 12 Groups To Join When You Retire
Find out about podcasts
Think of podcasts as free-form digital radio broadcasts that you can bring with you anywhere on your phone, computer, or smart device. If you have a hobby or a quirky area of interest, there is likely a podcast about it. As always, the internet is a goldmine for free content - for podcasts, NPR's Podcast Directory is a good place to start.
Take up the cooking
In 2017, the University of Washington conducted a study that found that cooking at home was not only a healthier option, but also a cheaper option. And with free apps like BigOven and the plant-based Oh She Glows, you don't have to invest in cookbooks or classes.
Cook Like a Pro: 25 Cheap Frozen Foods That Are Actually Good For You
Donate your time
Your life changes when you retire, and it's not uncommon for retirees to feel a little listless. This is exactly where volunteering comes in.
Volunteering can give you invaluable meaning and make a real impact on the world around you. It can also lead to measurable benefits such as lower mortality and depression rates, and better functioning. Find your reason for free on VolunteerMatch.org.
Become an archivist for your family
History matters, but we often forget that each of us is a part of history. Now is the time to sort and organize that box of photos, scraps and letters in the attic. It will make a difference for the next generation.
Make a new friend
Just like leaving school, it's often harder to make friends when you leave the workforce. This is one of the many disadvantages of retirement that no one is talking about.
But that's a shame because friendships are just as good for your stress levels and confidence as they are for your heart and soul. Expand your social circle the old fashioned way by standing there and starting a conversation instead of biting your tongue.
Okay you did the hike. It's a good start, but let's use it as a starting point. The National Institute on Aging recommends speeding up your routine by adding 10 minutes to your daily walk or slowly adding a few reps to your weightlifting routine and growing from there. Even with low impact exercises like aqua aerobics or tai chi, you will increase your endurance, balance, flexibility, and strength. Daily exercise is one of the best hobbies for retirees.
See: 10 Best Fitness Apps To Replace Your Gym Membership
Get addicted to TED talks
TED is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading ideas, typically in the form of bite-size conversations from experts. Each talk lasts 18 minutes or less, and the thousands of free topics in the archive range from African science fiction to Creole cuisine.
You can watch and listen to TED online, via Android and iOS apps, on YouTube, on Alexa or Google Home or on any number of streaming sticks such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Chromecast for free.
Pick up some culture
Museums are like chicken soup for the mind and soul. And they often host days off for all comers or free entry for seniors, regardless of where you live or travel, all year round.
You may even be entitled to free entry without knowing it. Some credit and debit cards, such as Bank of America and Merrill Lynch, offer free entry to the museum as an added benefit.
Meditation is not only free, it is also liberating. Whether you practice guided meditation, mantra meditation, or mindfulness meditation, you will benefit from benefits such as increased focus, reduced stress, increased self-awareness and patience. This hobby can also help you solve problems ranging from asthma to tension headaches.
Connect with your grandchildren
Spending time with your grandchildren is a great way to keep busy. "When kids are having fun, grandparents will make you feel good," social psychologist Susan Newman told US News and the World Report. And that should be reason enough to break out those old fishing rods or take a free family trip to the park.
Join the Peace Corps
If you think you are too old to fulfill your college dream of joining the Peace Corps, think again. Whether you've been in office for two months or two years, you (and your partner) can make a difference in the country and field of your choice.
Just look at Dorothy Woodbridge, a Peace Corps volunteer who turned 80 while serving in Ghana. Start your journey at PeaceCorps.gov.
Take care of a pet
Sure, adopting a dog or cat comes with a fair share of the fees. But caring for a pet until a willing adoptive family arrives usually doesn't cost you anything - the shelter usually provides free food, supplies, and medical care. Save a dog's life and make a new furry friend in Dogs Without Borders today.
Sing your life
Singing is a win-win situation for seniors. Not only is it fun, but studies have shown that music is a memory enhancement tool for people with Alzheimer's disease. Joining a local choir group can also expand your social circle and help you fulfill a dream. You can use a free website like Meetup to find choral groups near you.
Be a mentor
According to the National Mentoring Partnership, one in three young people grow up without a mentor, be it from a program, a friendship or a family member. But you can fix that by just spending your own time. On the way you will grow together with a young person, learn more about a completely different life experience, gain meaning and also have fun. Visit Mentoring.org for a list of NMP partners across the country.
Open an Etsy shop
You may think that everything you've gathered in your garage over the past few decades is junk, but it's vintage for one of the 30 million buyers who use the creative online marketplace Etsy. Whether you're selling antique doodads or selling handmade crafts, Etsy has a creative outlet that might actually put some cash in your pocket.
Even if you don't make the $ 80,000 a month Alicia Shaffer made selling handmade scarves in 2015, it won't cost you anything to start a business on Etsy.
to write letters
The self-expression that writing letters provides not only acts as a prelude to pent-up feelings, but "affects us on a cellular level" and "has psychological, mental and physical health benefits," said Lauren Garvey of Piedmont Healthcare all in one Newsletter entry. We're ready to bet you have a pen and paper somewhere around the house too.
Write a novel
Few things in life will make you more successful than cementing your legacy with a book. And when you are retired, you likely have many valuable stories to tell. Sign up for a free basic account with Scribophile, which has free writing resources and tons of community review.
It's not too hard to worry about the problems affecting America every day. Change starts on the ground floor, however, and there's never a better time to get involved in your local government than now.
Start by taking the polls, attending city council meetings, and joining a senior citizens' political organization. If you are excited about the experience, consider running for office in your local parks and recreation departments, zoning board, or economic development commission.
Click through to see the best work-from-home jobs for retirees.
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