5 activities for the golden years of retirement

Active Aging presented by Public Health Seattle-King County

You have decided to retire! Congratulations!

You may be thinking, “Now what?” It’s a perfectly natural response to this important stage in your life. Maybe you already know exactly how you will spend your new found time. Or maybe you need some downtime to consider all the options.
This list of activities will give you some ideas to bring your retirement to life! Reconnect with your passions, learn new skills, or spend your time with the people you love. And, of course, have fun! You deserved it.


Travel can be an exciting part of retirement with no vacation time limits. The options are yours for the taking. Take a cruise to a new destination. Major cruise lines like Carnival and Royal Caribbean offer discounts for seniors.
Visit every state park in the United States with a National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass. With your own motorhome, you can experience these top-rated national parks on a budget. Never been to Europe or is Alaska on your to-do list? It’s time to start planning your dream retirement trip. And now you also have plenty of time to visit your grandchildren, no matter how far away they live!


Ever wanted a college degree? Now might be the perfect time! Maybe you’re looking to learn more about something you’re passionate about? Colleges around the country offer courses for graduates and recreational learners, some free and many with reduced tuition for seniors.
The Bernard Osher Foundation for Lifelong Learning offers inexpensive programs for learners over 50 in many locations across the United States. There are over 400 programs specifically aimed at adult learners, with many online courses available. And sites like Masterclass offer programs ranging from wine tasting to writing, all taught by experts from around the world. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home!


Volunteering gives you a purpose and a way to give back. Many national organizations have local chapters that allow you to volunteer right in your own backyard. Friends of the Library is an organization that focuses on improving libraries and literacy, a perfect volunteer opportunity for bookworms. The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is an international organization dedicated to the betterment of the community by improving the lives of others through voluntary service.
Do you have a passion for food? Meals on Wheels America is always looking for local volunteers to help prepare and deliver meals to those locked in. Handy with nails and a hammer? Habitat for Humanity builds homes in the United States and around the world, providing volunteer opportunities in construction and finishing work.

turn up the music

Have you always wanted to play a musical instrument? Research shows that playing a musical instrument can slow and even reverse the effects of aging, especially hearing and memory. And music lessons can reduce stress, decrease boredom, and provide social opportunities with like-minded students. A study conducted at Northwestern University showed that playing the piano helps build neural connections, improve memory, and have lasting effects on the brain. Playing a musical instrument is a great way to stay mentally fit

be smart

It may be time to unleash your inner creativity! Try knitting, gardening or pottery. Take an art or painting class. Sewing, cooking, and baking are also solid ways to unwind. Pull out that pile of old photographs and create the scrapbook you’ve always dreamed of. With over 200 locations for scrapbooking retreats, there’s no reason to wait.

Get fit, stay fit

One of the best retirement activities is exercise. Low-impact sports have health benefits, like improving flexibility, boosting your immune system, and keeping your heart and lungs healthy. Swimming, biking, and yoga are great ways to stay active. A fitness class at the gym is a good step to maintaining health and well-being and a fun opportunity to make new friends.

Golf has become one of the favorite activities of retirees. Over six million senior golfers now represent 26% of all golfers. But if you still have a pent-up competitive spirit, tennis, soccer, and basketball are just a few of the many sports that offer competitive adult leagues throughout the county. Pickleball is also gaining popularity with seniors as a low-impact alternative to tennis.

You have worked hard all your life! With so many options, retirement can easily become the golden age you imagined. Make your retirement a moment of pleasure.

Active Aging is presented by Public Health – Seattle & King County. Public Health – Seattle & King County recognizes important and untold stories of innovation, service, and sacrifice from the Black community and supports efforts to improve equity and achieve social justice. We want everyone to get health insurance and have access to health care. Visit www.kingcounty.gov/health for health insurance, flu and COVID-19 testing locations.

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