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Hobbies That Improve Health and Happiness

One of the major perks of retirement is that you're free to devote as much time as you want to your interests and hobbies. And one of the challenges is that not everything you've enjoyed doing in your free time while you were working will be good for you full-time in retirement. Too much of the same thing might get boring. Too much time alone on the couch could be bad for your health. And after you've scheduled a few tee times and lunches, seeing all that remaining blank space on your weekly calendar might feel overwhelming.

A new retirement hobby should get you moving while also giving you opportunities to connect with other people. If you're not sure where to start, here are six suggestions that could improve your Return on Life.

Pickleball

Tennis is fantastic exercise that works your whole body, improves eye-hand coordination, and builds teamwork and camaraderie. It's also rough on your joints and can be increasingly difficult to enjoy as you age.

With a smaller court and a more forgiving ball, pickleball has all the fun, challenge, and social interaction of tennis with a lot less wear-and-tear. It's also exploding in popularity, especially among seniors. If you've never picked up a racket before, consider grabbing a paddle instead.

Cooking

Meals were a scheduled part of your work routine. Without that structure, retirees who spend most of their time at home can fall into some unhealthy eating habits, like perpetual grazing in the kitchen.

So, make mealtime special again! Start by upgrading your shopping routine. Even if you have a pretty strict grocery budget, you probably have the means to buy some fresh fruit, vegetables, and protein from your local farmer's market. Dust off those cookbooks you never had time to use and make healthier, more filling, and more enjoyable meals three times a day. You'll cut down on your snacking while learning a few new kitchen tricks.

Gardening

Why not turn that patch of weeds you're sick of staring at into a garden? According to AARP, gardening has numerous health benefits, including increased exposure to vitamin D, lowered risk of dementia, and aerobic exercise. Gardening can also be a great social activity, whether you're planting and pruning with your spouse or pitching in at a community garden.

Reading

Your brain needs a workout too! When was the last time you went down to your local library? In addition to all the physical media at your disposal, your librarian can also help you get connected with digital resources for accessing a wider variety of books, newspapers, magazines. A book club could help you cross some titles off your reading list while meeting new people.

Dancing

Running, walking, cycling, and hitting the gym don't appeal to everyone. If you don't enjoy sports and you're struggling to find a workout routine that sticks, take a twirl on the dancefloor. Many studies have found that dancing is good for your heart, your posture, your bones, and your mental health. Dancing can also be a great couples' activity that brings spouses closer together while expanding their horizons.

Volunteering

All the life and professional skills that you've accumulated are no less valuable in retirement. Whether you're mentoring the next generation of professionals in your field or helping kids master the Three Rs, you have a lot to give back. Signing up for shifts at schools, nonprofits, and other community organizations can give your weeks more structure and more meaning. Or, if you're feeling entrepreneurial, start your own consulting firm and make giving back your new part-time job.

Have you given much thought to what your Ideal Week in Retirement should look like? Make an appointment with one of our advisors and we can work through some Retirement Coaching tools that will help you fill in the blanks, feel better, and have some fun.

R.F. (Ben) Stewart III, JD, LLM (Tax)

Ben began practicing law in 1985 after receiving a Masters of Law in Taxation from the University of Florida Levin College of Law....

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