Loneliness can cause you to become more introverted and reclusive and increases the problem. Staying active mentally and physically brings huge benefits for everyone and this means getting out and about. It is lovely to share experiences with others, indeed – for human beings it is probably essential.
Often it can be difficult to reach out and take up new activities or meet new people but with a bit of bravado (they won’t eat you if you say or do the wrong thing!), best foot forward and a willingness to engage with others – so you make a difference to their day – YOUR own life experience can radically change.
This also doesn’t have to cost much either! Here are some healthy and inspiring ideas which will make the difference if you are willing to give them a go! They won’t all suit you, but I know that some will.. DO let me know how you got on!
PILATES is a fantastic tool and exercise to help your core strength and even in a class setting you are actually competing with yourself and your inner muscles vs seeing how far you can stretch compared to the person next to you! Classes are quite easy to find but see if you can find one dedicated to the needs of the over-50s, focusing especially on muscle tone, balance, osteoporosis prevention, posture, and reducing aches and pains.
BOOK CLUBS are a great way to stay focussed on one task (reading a book) and then share the insights from the chosen book for the month with others – often involving tea and cake or wine and nibbles!! Ask at your local library for groups near to you there are often other Book Clubs locally not associated with a Library. I have a feeling that some are even online! Better still – have YOU got a book ready to come out of YOU and don’t know where to start?! There are also writers clubs you can join and get help and support to further your creative spirit.
A Book Club in progress
BALLROOM and LATINO DANCING With the increase in popularity thanks to “Strictly Come Dancing” how about you dig out your dance shoes and dresses (or buy some new ones as they may no longer fit!) and enjoy some laughter, shared exercise and meet some new people? It is a superb exercise, helps balance and cardio-vascular health and lifts you mentally whilst taxing the co-ordination and memory! Perfect. A bit too active?? Did you know that some dancing clubs are especially low key so that everyone can take part – even wheelchair users!
NOTE: there are always too few gents, and they have to have enough confidence to lead the lady, so some gentle encouragement is important, and being willing to share partners. This way everyone benefits. You never know, you may meet your next life partner!
BRIDGE CLUBS abound everywhere! Contact Bridge is a fun, complex card game involving two competing teams of two players. Both new and experienced players are welcome at most Clubs. Bridge lessons are often available, and members can play at various weekly game sessions. It is competitive and uses the memory and brain and at least those who are not physically able can take part. I am amazed at how many younger players there are too!
T’AI CHI – The graceful, flowing movements of T’ai chi have been proven to slow the ageing process, prevent falls, reduce depression and high blood pressure, and boost heart health. This ancient meditative form of exercise is also incredibly relaxing. Some classes can be found that are specifically for those with restricted mobility and can be done sitting down.
CYCLING – another healthy, get-you-out-in-Nature activity where you can explore the locality or go a bit further with your bike and rack on the back of the car. Cycling Clubs can be competitive or recreational and cater for varying abilities / speeds. The local sports centre may have ideas of groups or even the doctors and the library for local groups. Also consider cycling on a static machine at home if getting out is difficult but you still want to do the exercise.
AMATEUR DRAMATICS So many people had dreams of being in a show and performing and if you haven’t already done this – what are you waiting for?? Gain confidence and self-esteem whilst having fun and learn some new skills. For others public speaking and being at the front of the crowd could be a nightmare (but there are also jobs to do in the wings – eg costume making, lighting, prompting etc). Every town and often larger villages will have their own Am-Dram group – just look for the local posters when they hold a show and contact the organiser! The performance side (and potential public hiccups) is only for a few nights, the actual practice and reading and benefits are longer. So if your are a closet thespian or think you can do a better job than someone else – why not put it to the test?
GARDENING CLUBS – Your generation have a great love of gardening and “getting your hands dirty”. Gardening clubs will help you to deepen your knowledge, share plants and seeds and if you wish, go in for local village or Club competitions. Usually these green-fingered groups meets every month to enjoy horticultural talks, competitions, social events, and outings to great gardens often at a discount. You meet like-minded people and it can help you organise a garden for your changing needs and requirements, plus learn how to inspire the younger generations.
SOCIAL ACTIVITIES – these can be more difficult to find out about, as they might not come under one umbrella organisation but you can enjoy activities such as computer training, other exercise classes, snooker, more card games or even board games (e.g. Monopoly), along with tea and coffee and yummy lunches. Ask around at local charity shops, library, bookshops etc.
COMPUTER CLUBS – feeling left behind by technology? Can’t see how it could improve and enhance your life and as a result the excuse is “I can’t be bothered with all that?” How about embracing this and make new friends at regular meetings?
Learn how to send emails, surf the internet, buy safely online (even save money on your household bills in the process!), talk to friends for free on Skype and use portable devices. You know the ones – those that the children and grandchildren have as “cast-offs”! e.g a mobile phone, iPad or laptop.
I hope you have found this a useful guide to the many activities that are easily available for the older generation – whatever you physical or mental levels of health. If you think I have forgotten about an important activity – please let me know! Thank you.
Top Tip! Enrol and encourage a friend to join in a new activity WITH you – you can then keep each other inspired, continuing to go when you might be tempted to “give it a miss today” and have one person you know to talk to, to start with.
© Great Guidelines for Later Life 2017. All Rights Reserved.
ex the County has over 50’s, 60’s and 70’s teams! So why not dust of the whites and have a go… it’s not as fast as when you were a nipper