10 of the most beneficial hobbies and interests for the over 60s (2024)

Leisure activities are known to be beneficial in a number of different ways for people of all ages, but research indicates that they can be even more important for older adults. Studies show that hobbies and interests can have significant benefits for the body and mind, helping to combat isolation and loneliness as well as helping older people to stay more active.

In this article, we look at some of the hobbies most ideally suited to those in their later years, and how these interests help them can enjoy an independent and full life as safely as possible.

Jump to:

  • Popular hobbies for the over 60s
  • More unusual hobbies for seniors
  • Finding activities for over 60s near me
  • Staying safe whilst enjoying hobbies out and about

Popular hobbies for the over 60s

10 of the most beneficial hobbies and interests for the over 60s (1)


It might seem to be a bit of a cliché that people in their later years like to tend to their garden, but research shows that around 47% of people aged 65+ state that one of their chosen hobbies is gardening.

Gardening has been shown to help improve stamina, dexterity and brain function, along with assisting weight loss in those who regularly spend time tending to their garden. It’s also very rewarding to plant something from a seed or bulb and see it grow to maturity. For those who find movements like lots of bending and kneeling quite challenging, there are plenty of types of gardening that don’t require these activities, such as planting in raised beds or using pots on shelves to grow whatever plants or flowers you like.

If you don’t have access to a garden or some outside space, it can often be possible to volunteer for local community projects or allotments to get all the benefits of gardening even if you don’t have a garden yourself.

Solving puzzles

While solving puzzles, such as crosswords, logic problems, Sudoku or Wordle, might not do much for you physically, it can be a really positive activity for the brain. Research indicates that these types of puzzles can have an impact on brain function when completed regularly, specifically in the areas of attention, reasoning and memory. This can be a great way for those in their later years to help keep their minds more active by just spending a few minutes at a time working on word or number puzzles.

10 of the most beneficial hobbies and interests for the over 60s (2)


Walking is perhaps the simplest form of exercise, but it’s also one of the most effective for older people, especially those who perhaps otherwise live quite a sedentary lifestyle. Walking regularly is known to help maintain a healthy weight, can reduce high blood pressure, decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and can also help alleviate some of the symptoms of chronic pain for many of those experiencing joint issues or lower back pain.

Many people who walk regularly also anecdotally report that they find it beneficial to their mental wellbeing too, with the fresh air and daylight contributing positively to the way we feel after spending some time outdoors. Walking can be sociable too, as it’s an ideal activity to do with family or friends of any age.

Jigsaw puzzles

A hobby that certainly isn’t weather-dependent is completing jigsaw puzzles. Gentle movements of picking up and placing jigsaw pieces can help with dexterity and those elderly people who have arthritis in their hands may find that this type of movement is beneficial for their pain. Many people also find jigsaws very theraputic and relaxing for their mind, enabling them to focus on the here and now.

While classic jigsaw puzzles are great, they are no longer the only option, with the availibility of 3D and wooden puzzles bringing a new challenge to those who want something a little different to try.


Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for those in their later years. Being in the water means that any strain on joints is greatly reduced, plus, this form of exercise is very low impact. Many swimming baths have sessions specifically for older swimmers, or host water fitness classes aimed at those who don’t want a strenuous workout. Flotation devices can be used for those who aren’t necessarily strong swimmers and this type of activity uses all of the major muscle groups in a way that tends to suit the elderly.

This type of gentle exercise can be really good for those with limited mobility or those who find other types of exercise difficult.

More unusual hobbies for seniors

If you’re looking for a new hobby, whether for yourself or to suggest to a loved one in their older years, finding something that combines a new interest with getting out and about or meeting new people can make it even more beneficial, both physically and mentally.

10 of the most beneficial hobbies and interests for the over 60s (3)

Learn photography

Research indicates that spending time doing a creative hobby, such as photography, can increase a sense of wellbeing and whilst traditional photography required lots of specialist equipment to do, such as a dark room, digital photography is much more accessible for anyone to start learning and doesn’t have to cost a lot for beginners. Taking photos is something that anyone can do, and it can encourage people to get out and about more in nature to snap away in parks, green spaces, or the countryside.

Learning a new language

It can be more difficult to learn new skills as an older adult than when you’re younger, but studies show that it can be very beneficial for brain health to try and learn a new language in later years. With lots of language-learning apps available on mobile and tablet devices, it’s easier than ever to access this kind of material to help keep the mind active and enjoy taking on a new challenge.

Learn a musical instrument

In the same way that learning a new language is thought to help with brain health, learning how to play a musical instrument can have a similar impact, with the additional benefit of helping with hand dexterity too. Whilst formal music lessons can be great, there is now also the option of learning for free from online videos, with many tutorials available on YouTube at no cost, depending on the instrument of choice. The piano is a popular option for those in their older years, but various percussion instruments or a harmonica are also great choices for someone wanting to pick up a musical instrument for the first time as no experience is needed to get started.

Ballroom dancing

For those who want a hobby that incorporates some gentle exercise and a chance to meet new people, ballroom dancing can be a great way to encompass both things in one. Studies have indicated that ballroom dancing regularly can even help reduce the chances of getting dementia in later life. Slow ballroom dancing can help with general fitness, balance, and core strength for older people, making it a great all-round activity that can combine social engagement if there are classes held near you.

10 of the most beneficial hobbies and interests for the over 60s (4)

Join a community choir

Singing and music are great for taking us back to a time and place where we heard a specific song and studies show that singing in a choir can , as well as being a great stress-reliever.

Not only is the singing itself beneficial for those in their later years, but the social aspect of being part of a choir that meets regularly can be great for combatting loneliness or a feeling of being isolated, which many elderly people find challenging to deal with.

Finding activities for over 60s near me

If you live in a large town or city, there are likely to be groups, charities and organisations already running activities like the hobbies mentioned above in many places. However, if you live in a more rural area, or have some issues with mobility, it can be more of a challenge to find and access group activities in person.

It’s a great idea to do some searches online, such as through Google or Facebook, to see if there are any local groups running these types of activities near you. You can also check with local churches or community centres, who often advertise groups that use their premises online or on their church noticeboards. There might also be social activities that can be joined remotely, such as by Zoom or other kinds of online video calls and software.

Staying safe whilst enjoying hobbies out and about

It’s important to be safe while trying out new hobbies and interests, both for the older person taking part and also for peace of mind for the whole family. A personal alarm and GPS tracking device for elderly in the same small device could be a great option as it works both inside the home and anywhere else that the wearer takes it.

With a built-in fall detector, this type of device enables a two-way conversation between the individual and the 24-hour Emergency Resolution Team, so help is always on hand should it be needed, with the GPS capability giving an accurate location if required.

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10 of the most beneficial hobbies and interests for the over 60s (2024)


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