Retirement is a time when you deserve to relax a little, but remember: while you may expect to slow down a little, you don't want to stop altogether. We all know that people who stay active tend to live longer, and you don't need to break a sweat to do yourself a power of good. So try asking yourself - what things can I do in retirement to stay active?

We think of an active pastime as being something that keeps you busy – helping you to stay fit and healthy in body and mind as you get older. Everyone’s idea of ‘active’ is different, and we all enjoy doing different things. The key is just to do something, and preferably something that you really enjoy so that you'll stick at it. 

In this video, Carole Ann Rice gives some hints and tips on how to lead an active lifestyle in retirement.

What kinds of things can I do to stay busy in retirement?

If you’ve always worked, the idea of retirement may be daunting. It’s entirely natural to be concerned about having periods of unstructured time to fill. The important thing is to stay active. Here are some ways to feel more positive about this exciting new stage of your life:

  • Write a list of all the things you’ve wanted to do but didn’t have time to before. It could be tidying the shed or travelling the world; more gardening (or less); spending time with your family – or perhaps working as a volunteer.
  • If you don’t have lots of hobbies now, think about getting involved in groups near to where you live like The University of the Third Age or joining a local health walk group.
  • Find ways to make your current pastimes more manageable as you get older. So if you love gardening but don’t think you’ll manage your existing land, swap high maintenance perennials for ones that don’t need year round pruning.
  • Try something new. It needn’t be about just keeping physically active – it could also be about keeping mentally active. Here are some popular active pastimes:
    • Collecting and selling antiques
    • Photography
    • Model cars or aeroplanes
    • Volunteering
    • Genealogy
    • Scrap booking

What about using your retirement to travel?

There are a wide variety of specialist travel companies that offer all kinds of trips from adventure trekking in the Scottish Highlands to desert surfing in the UAE. Holidays are a great way of trying something new and seeing more of the world. For ideas, we have a whole section on travelling for you to take a look at.

What if my future plans seem expensive?

Not every pastime costs buckets of money, but you’ll have to be realistic financially. Look at your finances now to see how your pension is performing. Of course, put in as much as you can while you’re still earning. Find out more about maximising your savings.

Where can I find out more?

The best way to find out what’s available in the local community is to take a look at your community newsletter, shopping centre message boards, doctor and dentist message boards. Some information may also be held by your local authority, but this is likely to be focused on groups and services that are publically run or funded rather than those that are run in the community.