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7 retirement hobbies for seniors to consider

From hiking to bird watching or starting a book club — hobbies to consider picking up in retirement

107-year-old Florida man living his best life

A study published last year found that more seniors are staying in the job market longer than previous generations.

And that's not only because of financial concerns. The unretired trend also has to do with a sense of purpose, preventing boredom and avoiding depression, the TD Ameritrade study found.

Among those surveyed who had retired, about 30% said they felt like they lost their identity after they were done working.

“The concept of retirement is evolving. It’s not just about finances. The value of work is also driving folks to continue working past retirement,” said Christine Russell, senior manager of retirement and annuities at TD Ameritrade.

That's why finding a hobby, or two, in retirement can be crucial for seniors. Whether it's dusting off an existing interest or discovering a new one, hobbies don't have to be expensive or complicated, it can be as simple as bird watching or taking a walk in nature. And, according to AARP, having a hobby can help improve quality of life in retirement.

If you’re looking for a new hobby in retirement or to suggest to a senior in your life, here are some to consider from retirement expert Peter Spiers, author of “Master Class: Living Longer, Stronger, and Happier.”

Helping others: Finding somewhere to volunteer in retirement is a great way to maintain a sense of purpose. Spiers writes for the Road Scholar blog that "it's good for the soul, highly social and comes in a thousand forms."

“Work in a museum, and you’ll have daily opportunities to learn something new. Take part in a service role where you can help others. Or volunteer at an arts center where you can have (often free) access to performances,” he wrote.

Book club: Retirement may provide a chance to finally have enough downtime to read. Even in the era of social distancing, starting a book club can be a great way to keep yourself accountable on reading and connecting with others.

Getting outside: One of the easiest hobbies to pick up in retirement, and right now amid social distancing, is simply getting outside for a walk or a hike in nature.

“Both pastimes comes with fresh air and a quickened pulse, a chance to observe nature and, if you walk with a friend, a dose of the socializing that’s so important to healthy aging,” Spiers writes.

Research: If you're a history buff, the Library of Congress, National Archives and Smithsonian Institute may have the right hobby for you. The entities all look to volunteers to transcribe historical documents in their collections. Or, through genealogy websites, you can also dig into your own family history.

Gardening: Amid shelter in place efforts, there's been a renewed interest in gardening and for good reason: It's a way to work with your hands, get outside and see the fruits of your labor right before your eyes. Right now, a number of nurseries and plant stores in metro Atlanta are even offering delivery or curbside pickup options.

Bird watching: Bird watching can be a great way to get outside — or enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of your own home. If you're a novice, there are plenty of books and apps to help get you started on information about breeds and feeders. The Audubon Bird Guide for North America is free to download and includes up-to-date reports on information about sightings in your area.

Learn a new language: Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Or maybe you’re planning to take a trip where it could come in handy. It can be a fun way to engage your brain. And, thanks to apps like  Duolingo, it’s easier than ever to try it out.

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