Participating in Activities You Enjoy As You Age | National Institute on Aging – National Institute on Aging

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Older couple playing ping pong.There are many things you can do to help boost your health as you age, including making healthy food choices and not smoking. But did you know that participating in social and other activities you enjoy can also help support healthy aging?
As you grow older, you may find yourself spending more time at home alone. Being lonely or socially isolated is not good for your overall health. For example, it can increase feelings of depression or anxiety, which can have a negative impact on many other aspects of your health. If you find yourself spending a lot of time alone, try participating in activities you find meaningful — those that create a sense of purpose in your daily life. These can include hobbies, volunteer activities, or time with family and friends.
Melvin has not quite felt like himself since his retirement. He misses his customers and teaching new employees the trade. Linn used to care for her grandchildren while her daughter was at work. Now that her grandchildren are in school, she has a lot of extra time on her hands. Melvin and Linn miss waking up with a feeling of purpose. They think joining a volunteer group might help — and they’re right.
Engaging in social and productive activities you enjoy, such as taking an art class, joining a hiking club, or becoming a volunteer in your community, may help to maintain your well-being and independence as you age. An active lifestyle is more than just getting your daily steps in. It includes doing activities that are meaningful to you and benefit your mind, spirit, and body.
Research has shown that older adults with an active lifestyle:
Everyone has different limits to the amount of time they can spend on social or other activities. What is perfect for one person may be too much for another. You might start by adding one or two activities to your routine and see how you feel. You can always add more. Remember: Participating in activities you enjoy should be fun, not stressful.
There are plenty of places to look for opportunities to engage in activities you enjoy, depending on your interests and ability. Following are ideas that might work for you. Some of these include activities that can be enjoyed even from a distance using phones, computers, and other devices. Others can be done alone. So even if you’re in a rural area or have other restrictions, you can still find ways to engage in activities you like.
America’s Natural and Cultural Resources Volunteer Portal
www.volunteer.gov
Corporation for National Community Service
800-942-2677
800-833-3722 (TTY)
[email protected]
www.nationalservice.gov
Experience Corps
AARP Foundation
202-434-6400
[email protected]
www.experiencecorps.org
VolunteerMatch
415-241-6868
www.volunteermatch.org
This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.
Content reviewed: March 28, 2022

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