If you think retirement is all about long stretches of quiet days at home with nothing to do, think again. Today’s retirees are adopting fun, challenging hobbies that help them stay active and engaged every day. Here are three hobbies that will keep your retirement healthy and exhilarating.


Learn a new language. Learning a new language is not only fun, but may also be good for your health. Scientists believe that people who speak multiple languages develop stronger memories, have better cognitive skills and mental flexibility, and may even see a delay in the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Start by choosing a language. Spanish, Italian or French may serve you well on your next vacation. Learning American Sign Language will make your brain and your hands work together. And studying Chinese will expose you to an entirely new culture and concept of language. Once you’ve picked a language, you can sign up for classes at a local college or community center, or check out audio lessons from a bookstore or library. There are also mobile apps and online classes targeted at new language learners. Finally, find a friend to study with you or join a social group to practice your new skills.


Try Tai Chi. Staying fit during retirement doesn’t just mean daily workouts at the gym. Why not try something different, like Tai Chi?  This ancient Chinese martial art combines physical strength and flexibility with mental focus and sharp memory. It’s a low impact activity that can be practiced indoors or outdoors, alone or in a group. Many cities have a Tai Chi community or school that meets for regular practice and is always open to beginners. Alternatively, you can learn Tai Chi at home from online videos or DVD lessons. When you practice Tai Chi, you’ll start to see your heart rate slow, your stress levels drop, and your memory and mental focus improve.


Volunteer. One of the best things about retirement is having the time to donate your knowledge and skills to help others. And it’s a great way to stay active and meet new people. You can find volunteer opportunities online at VolunteerMatch or United Way, or even with a local religious organization or school. Sometimes your professional skills or interests can help guide your choice of activity. If you have a technical background, you can build websites for charities. If you’re good with numbers, consider volunteering at financial wellness or tax workshops for disadvantaged communities. No matter what you choose, giving back to the community is a wonderful way to have a meaningful retirement.


Retirement often means having a new focus on life and trying new things. By choosing a fun, healthy hobby that challenges your mind and body, you’ll enjoy your retirement even more.