Body and Mind

How to keep busy in your 50s

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When you enter your 50s, it’s like a whole new world has opened up. Many people find their professional careers coming to an end around this age, so the next step in life is finding all new ways to keep busy and find fulfilment in everything you do. 

Your 50s is a time when opportunities for growth, exploration, and enjoyment can be capitalised on. With your newly freed time, you can focus on yourself and the things that you may have never had a chance to do before or wish to return to once more. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a social butterfly, or an aspiring scholar, this is the perfect time to keep your calendar brimming with exciting activities. 

To help you decide what is the best way to keep yourself busy in your 50s, we have created a comprehensive list of various hobbies, sports, and social pursuits that will keep you buzzing with energy. 

1. Back to University: Lifelong Learning Reimagined

Although many believe university is the logical next step for any recent high school graduate, there is no time limit for when you can further your education. In fact, ‘mature students’, those who have been out of the education scene for some time, are encouraged by the education system to make their return to education no matter their age.

If you are facing retirement, or looking to move into a new professional field at the end of your career, going back to university in your 50s can truly be transformative. It opens up a world of possibilities, whether it is expanding your skill set or allowing you to explore your passions. You can enjoy benefits such as:

  • Staying Sharp: By studying at university, you encounter new subjects and acquire fresh skills that allow you to work your brain to its full mental capacity. This keeps your brain active and adaptable even in your later years, strengthening cognitive abilities in such a way that is good for your overall health.
  • Pursuing Passions: If there is a subject or area of interest that you have always wanted to learn more about, going back to university in your 50s is your chance to pursue such passions. 
  • Gaining a Professional Edge: For those interested in expanding their skills for professional reasons, you can enhance your career prospects by gaining new qualifications or exploring areas that might lead to a fulfilling second career. This includes postgraduate courses, which are conveniently open to mature students at UTS Online.

2. Hiking: Nature’s Therapy

Exercise is another activity that has no age limit. So long as you’re healthy and capable, hiking is an excellent activity to keep yourself busy in your 50s. For the most part, there is no need to buy equipment or gear, and anyone, regardless of their experience with hiking, can pick up the activity. 

Regardless if it’s a leisurely nature walk or a challenging mountain trail, hiking offers numerous benefits:

  • Maintaining Health and Fitness: Even a single hike a week can improve your overall physical well-being significantly. By keeping your body active, you can build up the strength of your muscles, joints, bones, and cardiovascular health. These benefits are incredibly beneficial in your 50s to reduce the risk of ailments such as osteoporosis or heart disease.
  • Finding Serenity: Heading into the great outdoors for a few hours of hiking is a great way to clear your mind and reduce your overall stress. The combination of exercise and connecting with nature can provide a tranquil environment that separates you from stressful situations you may be facing and creates an opportunity to reset.

3. Dance: Groove to Your Own Beat

Hitting the dance floor may not be your first thought when considering how to stay busy in your 50s, but it is a popular choice for many looking to let loose. Dance classes allow you a chance to stay active while enjoying great music and meeting new people. Whether it’s ballroom, salsa, or hip-hop, there is sure to be a dance class out there waiting for you to sign up:

  • Improving Your Fitness on the Beat: This dynamic form of exercise encourages flexibility, balance, coordination, and cardiovascular fitness. Dancing can also improve your posture and core stability, reducing the impact of ageing on your body.
  • Cognitive Sharpness and Creativity: Both learning and performing dance routines require not just physical coordination, but also mental focus. Memorising sequences can improve your memory, concentration, and problem-solving skills. It also allows you to explore your creative side, encouraging a sensation of youthfulness and joy.
  • Social Connection: Even when you aren’t learning partner or group dances, there are still plenty of opportunities to make new connections when taking a dance class. Socialising in such a way is a great way to find a community and combat any sensations of loneliness that may arise as we age.

4. Photography: Capture Moments, Create Memories

Unleash your hidden creativity through the art of photography. This hobby grants you the ability to observe and display your surroundings with a fresh perspective. It also allows you to capture those precious moments that tell stories about the lives of you and your loved ones. Within a short period of time, you can enjoy:

  • Mindfulness: By quite literally looking at the world through a different lens, you naturally become more attuned to the details that usually go unnoticed. By practising this type of mindfulness, you can feel a greater sense of fulfilment and tranquillity.
  • Creative Expression: Artistic hobbies such as photography can grant you an outlet to explore your thoughts, feelings and artistic expression. This can be enriching in the reflective years of your 50s.
  • Building Your Legacy: Capture the precious moments of your life with photography to preserve your legacy for loved ones. The later generations are sure to adore the memories you captured and the stories behind each carefully timed shot.

5. Volunteering: Give Back, Feel Fulfilled

If you are finding your free time opening up more in your 50s, now may be the time to dedicate it to a cause you are passionate about. Seeking out volunteer opportunities at animal shelters, community centres, support groups, or for a particular cause can be both rewarding and impactful. Volunteering is known to provide participants with a sense of direction, along with other benefits such as:

  • Personal Growth: Volunteering often encourages many to step out of their comfort zones to gain new skills and fresh perspectives on life. With the right opportunity, you may find your self-confidence increasing and your levels of enrichment reaching new heights.
  • Sense of Purpose: For those looking to retire or reduce work hours in their 50s, volunteering can provide a new sense of purpose in life. Helping others and making a difference in the world can be incredibly rewarding, as well as allowing you to create a deeper connection to the world around you.

6. Joining a Team Sport or Striking Out Solo: Active For a Lifetime

Hit the courts, the beach, or your local field for a bout of exercise in the form of organised sport. Regardless if you’re looking to succeed solo or find new friends in a team, there is no end to the benefits that come from taking up a sport in your 50s:

  • Staying Active: By continuing to stay active in your later years of life, your body can remain agile and in the best shape possible. The effects of ageing are often greatly reduced by undertaking regular physical activity.
  • Create Community: Even if you are not part of a sports club, you can find plenty of people with similar interests once you take up a physical activity. This offers you the chance to find a community and socialise, creating a support network that can become crucial to your well-being as the years go by. 

7. Travel Adventures: Explore Beyond Boundaries

The later years of your life should be considered the golden years as you discover ultimate freedom. Once work has become a thing of the past, or your load has been greatly reduced, you have the freedom to travel and discover new cultures. Whether it’s a solo adventure, a couples’ retreat, or a group tour, travel broadens your horizons and allows you to live life to the fullest, among other aspects:

  • Cultural Exploration: Travelling, especially to foreign countries, offers you the chance to engage with different traditions, cuisines, and lifestyles. By broadening your horizons this way, you can enrich your understanding of the world and enjoy all new experiences you normally wouldn’t have the chance to encounter.
  • Personal Renewal: Many find travelling to bring rejuvenation to their life. By breaking from your daily routine, you can feel a greater sense of relaxation or adventure, depending on what direction you want to take your travels in. 
  • Creating Memories: Your 50s is a prime time to create those precious memories you’re sure to treasure. Travelling solo or with loved ones allows you to encounter unique experiences and share those moments that will never be forgotten. 

Embrace Every Opportunity:

Your 50s are a time to embrace the richness of life. Whether you’re pursuing hobbies, engaging in sports, or deepening social connections, remember that the world is your playground. And if you’re feeling the itch to learn and grow, don’t hesitate to return to university. Education isn’t confined to the young—it’s a lifelong journey that evolves with you. So, embark on these new adventures and create a tapestry of memories that will enrich your life for years to come.

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