Fun and Easy Hobbies for Older Women
One of the biggest benefits of aging is the amount of spare time we have. This means that we can now fill our spare time doing things that we are passionate about or are interested in learning more about. Finding a hobby that you love is important because it can keep your mind and body healthy, happy, and active. But I’ve heard from many of my readers that they don’t have a clue where to start to find something new. So many of us have spent our time working or caring for others that putting ourselves first is a foreign concept. After sharing that I recently started back knitting, I decided to see what other hobbies are out there for us. If you’ve been looking for something fun to try in your spare time, I’ve compiled a list of some fun and easy hobbies for older women to try.
Hobbies for Women over 50 and 60
Pickleball is a game that is a combination of tennis, badminton, and ping pong that can be played as doubles or singles. It’s very popular as it’s easy to learn, and the equipment list is very short, as you only need a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. This game is slower paced than tennis, the short-handled paddle is easier to use, and the court has less ground to cover, making it easy for beginners to learn and, perhaps, excel quickly! It’s a great workout for your body and your brain since it gets your feet moving, it’s social, and puts your hand-eye coordination to work. We took a few pickleball classes when we first moved here, and it was a blast, so I may look into it again this spring.
Whether you are just looking to beautify your landscaping or to grow your own food, the best part about gardening is that it can be whatever you’d like it to be. ..if you don’t have a black thumb as I do. Gardening encourages you to spend time in nature, which can be a major stress reliever! Plus, a busy day in the garden is just as tiring as a good workout session, and the creative aspect of designing your flower pots, beds, and window boxes is great mental stimulation. Please don’t forget your sunscreen and your hat to protect your skin from harmful UV rays! If you’re looking for more social interactions, join your local garden club, which often meets on a monthly or bi-weekly basis.
Spending a few hours golfing outdoors with some female companions is a wonderful way to combine a social and physical activity packaged into one fun-filled hobby! Golf requires mental focus and critical thinking while allowing you to reduce stress. If you are brand new to golfing, I recommend getting started with a few lessons at your local golf course or country club to help you learn the basics, like what clubs to use and when, and how to swing your clubs. Or if your husband plays, this could be a great bonding opportunity! Most courses have a practice putting green and a driving range so you can take your skills for a test drive before using them during an actual round on the course.
If you decide to try this crafty hobby, you may get hooked on it. I used to pick up canvases on all our vacations to stitch up as souvenirs. Needlepoint is a great way to get creative and a hobby you can do while you’re cuddled up watching your favorite show, on a long car ride, or during the cold winter months when you’re stuck indoors. I like to do mine stretched and stapled to a frame which helps keep it straight. Here are a couple of beginner kits to get you started.
While I don’t know if I would consider it a hobby, I do think filling your time with some form of exercise is important. While it could just be going on a 30 min walk each day, you can also get your body moving with an exercise class. It is wonderful for weight management, lowering your blood pressure while improving your heart health, and reducing your risk of disease. There are so many classes to choose from, including yoga, pilates, barre, water aerobics, line dancing, and more that are great for older women. You can of course, do these activities solo, but doing them in a class-style environment allows you to get out of the house, stay accountable, and make new friends. I’d suggest checking out your local community center, YMCA, or gym. I’ve also found some great classes you can take online.
Whether you like reading non-fiction to learn more about a topic or transporting yourself into an imaginary world via a juicy fictional novel, reading is so beneficial for your brain. I typically love reading with a real book in hand, but I also have a Kindle Paperwhite that is so nice to slip into my purse for traveling. Or if you prefer to listen to audiobooks, I would suggest joining Audible (Amazon’s Audiobook Store and Membership)! I’d love to hear what some of your favorite books you’ve read are in the comments below though.
Puzzles, Crosswords, and Sudoku
Preserve your brain function and memory skills by spending some of your spare time doing puzzles, crosswords, or sudoku. They also help improve concentration and thinking skills. It’s so easy to spend our spare time in the doctor’s office waiting room or drive thru waiting for our coffee to scroll through our phone, but what if we picked up a crossword or sudoku book instead?
Card and Dice Games/Bridge
Stay socially engaged and mentally challenged by joining a bridge game. If there aren’t any local to you, invite a few friends to learn the game with you. If you aren’t a fan of bridge, you could try bunco, spades, or even poker! We are avid card players in our family. My sister-in-law even travels with cards in her purse:).
If you’re looking for a hobby to promote personal growth and enrich your life, look no further than volunteering. Donating your time, energy, and resources to others is so fulfilling and rewarding.
I play Mahjongg with a group of friends every Wednesday and also play BUNCO once a month. I’m also a quilter, I make quilts for my family and a charity organization. When I retired years ago I did a handful of paint-by-number kits. I loved doing them as a child and it was really fun.
I learned how to quilt during retirement, sewing with my sewing machine different shapes to make lovely quilts . I joined a quilt group that makes quilts for ill, or people who are facing surgery. The group is social, we meet once a week, have lunch together and share ideas. Quilting is no problem for arthritic hands.
I read mostly fiction on my Kindle (read in low lighting and can change the font). I get free books from the library online. So easy to borrow and send back. I recently read Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis. I read it in 2 days.
Do any of you play Worlde? You get one word a day, and have 6 chances a day to guess the word. My husband and I always check to see who gets it in the least amount of tries.
I joined the local parks and recreation center, and use their gym and exercise equipment. They also offer many types of exercise classes, swimming classes, and over 50 classes if you want those. I like the bike and elliptical, so easy on joints . My husband goes with me when he is not playing golf.
My husband loves wordle.
Challenge yourself and try Quordle also! My sister and I solve Quordle and Wordle daily and text the results across the miles to each other. A fun way to keep in touch daily.
As a voracious reader and a frugal one, I read all my books on my Amazon Fire through my library. It is free and easy. I can read a book or get an audible version. Not often but a book may not be available, and I’ll turn to Amazon to purchase a book, but with patience a book on hold comes fairly soon to my in box & meanwhile I’m reading other fun offerings. I highly recommend your readers check into their own local library’s on-line offerings. It keeps me endlessly in marvelous books!
I have taken up quilting and it is not sewing, which I hate.
I truly love to put these angles and squares together to create something beautiful.
Also love puzzles and reading and do my best to get in exercise daily. All makes for a happy me. Need to try new things to keep our minds sharp.
I just found out about a serious community choir and joined it. They have weekly rehearsals with a bit of time to chat with others so the social aspect is there but limited. It is taking me a lot of time to learn my part during the week to prepare for rehearsal, but I love the challenge. There were no auditions (that was important!). In the spring, there will be a concert. It is very nice!
I like to read and garden. My choice for books is the public library. Purchasing books does get expensive although in some places there is a used bookstore that will pay you a pittance to purchase used books. That is why the public library is so beneficial to fixed or low income people. I joined a book club and serve as the secretary, since I have good computer skills. I also lead a support group. I enjoy fashion but I don’t have need for business clothes since retirement. I have noticed many of my friends no longer dress in current styles or trends and it ages them. Your column has me observing what people wear again like I did when employed.
Playing MahJongg is my favorite hobby! It is a challenging game, and it offers tons of opportunities for socializing with friends. I play several times a week in person, and I play every night online at RealMahJongg.com.
Reading (I belong to two book clubs) and volunteering (at a food cupboard and clothing closet) also take up my time. I must get back to a regular exercise routine, though!
Thanks for the reminder, Jennifer.
Yay for Mah Jongg. I suffered with Bridge but LOVE MJ!
I play on realmahjongg.com, too.
I can vouch for folding garden kneelers. I inherited a similar one from my mother, and find it very helpful for my hips and knees. I’m the age she was when she bought it.
Washable gripper gloves are essential, so I stock up every year. I wash them in cold water and hang them to dry. There are always a few clean pairs ready at the door. I managed to wear out four pairs this year. I have quite a few left leather gloves, because only the right ones wear out!
Sloggers last years for me, so I only need to replace them occasionally. A new pair is waiting for spring. The new ones are floral. The old ones had a cow print. Always fun to check out the new designs.
Gardening has been frustrating the past few years, due to wildfire smoke and drought. Nothing grows like it once did. Maybe it’s time to switch to lower-maintenance xeriscaping with perennials and add a new hobby to my repertoire.
Thank you for including Volunteering as a way to occupy those “extra” hours! Volunteerism is the best way to stay connected to, and to improve, the community in which you live. Many volunteer organizations do not expect large donations but could use our “elbow grease” to make an impact. Check out places like Assistance League (120 chapters nation wide), your local food bank, school district, or animal shelter for ways to pitch in! Whether you are distributing clothing to schools and emergency rooms, reading to classrooms, bagging groceries, walking dogs or lending your professional expertise (finance/governance/organization) to leadership positions in the organization, you will be enriched by the time you spend helping make your little corner of the world better!
Thanks for all the great ideas! I didn’t realize how many of those things that I do. My husband and I are obsessed with golf. We love playing together and can sometimes get competitive. We even plan our vacations around golf. Unfortunately we live in the NW so in the winter we walk everyday. I love to read and do word puzzles. I used to love to crossstitch but my arthritis won’t allow that anymore. I think pickleball sounds fun but we don’t seem to have it around here.
I began volunteering at a local food pantry seven years ago when I retired! It is both rewarding and humbling.
We walk every day and I love a good book.
Thanks so much for the great ideas.
Just a warning. Pickleball is addicting🙂. When we moved to our retirement community 3 yrs ago I didn’t really know what it was but now I’m playing every day (sometimes twice) and am on a league team. It’s such a great social sport and good exercise. I also read a lot, do sudoku every day, take fused glass classes, play cards and am in a hiking group. Never a dull moment here!
That sounds fun!
This column came at the perfect time since my birthday is in 2 weeks! I have gardened for 47 years, and I don’t have a kneeler or closed in gardening shoes. So those are on my birthday list! My dentist told me to read, “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker so I did. It’s an important book. When one city started high school at 9:00 instead of 8:00, car wrecks from 16-18 year olds went down by 60%. The part about sleep deprived doctors and residents is a sad testiment about our medical system.
Right before Covid, I took up the oboe! I played flute through college and then life got in the way and I stopped playing. I always missed playing music. So after I retired, I decided to try the oboe. What was I thinking?! I could not get a sound out of it and learned it’s one of the most difficult instruments to play. But I kept it up, and am still playing and taking lessons and I’ve come a long way. Thanks to Zoom, I was able to keep going during the pandemic. I second Susan’s book pick, A Man called Ove. But I also loved A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. I belong to Audible and listen to my books while I exercise. Makes the time go by faster!
I play bridge in two groups twice a week, participate in two book clubs, swim and walk daily ( still over weight🥺), do puzzles, make jeweled trees, listen to audio books and read constantly, read too many blogs…..the days are not long enough. My husband walks miles a day and listens to audible so we have books to talk about.
What are jeweled trees?
Those are great ideas. I would like to add that Canasta is another fun card game that I have learned after retirement. Volunteering is a wonderful way to help in the community.
I volunteer twice a week and plan to start my first garden this year (at 66 y/o!) then preserve the fruits of my labors. I need to be more active because my passion is reading, I occasionally read a biography but the majority of my reading is light fiction. I’ve long been a Nora Roberts fan and she recently mentioned a book by Sarah Addison Allen. Loving it!
Volunteering is very rewarding.
My favorite book of all time is The Rent Collector. I started a book club when I retired and have a group of 11 women who meet on a regular monthly basis and discuss a book. We also enjoy good wine and food. It was the best decision I ever made in retirement.
Thx for ideas. I play pickle ball & teach a Silver Sneakers class twice a week. I love it & have so much fun. I need to sit & do crosswords, word search etc. I also have fun playing Rummikue. Have you played? Also I play Hand & Footbwith a group. Retirement is great!!!
I am a knitter but currently taking a class to learn to crochet…there are a lot of knitting patterns that use crochet as well and I just wanted to get a bit more confident with it. My husband is a puzzle guy and I have been joking that his puzzle collection is starting to compete with my yarn stash! We both like to play crib and also play pool once in awhile.
I make jewelry. I started about 15 years ago. I needed a necklace for an outfit and could not find the right color so I went to Michael’s craft store and decided to try my hand at beading. Every time I got a new topper jacket, I made a piece of jewelry to match it. but beading is simpler than you ladies think, and can be an expensive compared to some of the other hobbies
I’ve tried that too. It is fun.
My post retirement activities are golf and gardening and my winter sport was curling till the fun of being on a cold rink for a few hours lost it’s appeal.
Golf is a great way to make friends – I’ve joined 4 different ladies’ leagues over the years and have met many wonderful ladies from that. None of my long time friends live close by, so hobbies are the only way to meet new people.
That is some good advice. I have a set of clubs but haven’t played in years. My husband plays but he has his friends and many leagues. Perhaps a women’s league would interest me?
I loved curling, I use to do it in school many decades ago, but living in the US I find it is not very popular.
You’ll enjoy a ladies league Susan. Women are so much more fun and relaxed to play with, and in my experience much more supportive. Plus there’s the apres golf refreshments 🙂
My daughter keeps encouraging me to take up golf
I bought an Ashford 24 inch rigid heddle loom from The Woolery, and my husband and I have spent wonderful hours this winter making simple dish towels, placemats, and scarves. Bonus: we made most of our Christmas gifts this year. We taught ourselves easily using You Tube and some books. Come spring, we will tend our vegetable “garden” in big pots we’ve put alongside the house as our knees don’t like working a regular garden anymore.
I wanted to add that this is a table loom, so we can easily move it around and take it in our RV, too.
How fun that you do it together. I love that.
I love your web site and you have imparted some very useful ideas since I found you. I understand the need for advertising but the flashing ads are very distracting to this ADS (adult distraction syndrome). I love Talbot’s but I’m not a fan of flashing ads. Thanks, for letting me rant.
I’m sorry, they’re flashing. I’ll check with my ad agency.
Jennifer, I’ve increased my volunteer efforts and they are fulfilling. Our card game is Hand and Foot, a family favorite. You’ve enticed me to knit again, but only after I finish a long term needlepoint piece. Cooking, has become a favorite as I love to research and experiment with recipes. Yoga and walking are required to balance my kitchen efforts. Thanks for all these ideas!
I have just started learning bridge and I’m enjoying the class, and learning something new. Meeting people is the extra bonus.
It’s so important to stay social
I taught myself to crochet via You Tube about 8 years ago. I have made so many baby blankets and baby hats as gifts. My struggle is to keep my yarn stash at a minimum! I also have made my grand-daughters a large collection of amigurumi animals – which they love. I am now going to attempt to teach myself to knit via You Tube (suggestions please?). I am still working so I work on my hobbies mostly at night to relax.
Yarn stashes are a hazard of these hobbies but there are worse vices 😂
I have been crocheting in my spare time for 15 years and especially like making sweaters. In two weeks, I am taking a beginner weaving class from a local yarn shop. If I like it, I will buy the small loom. I have to use up my yarn stash faster!
I knit and use my skills and stash to make baby/child sized afghans for Project Linus which provides them to hospitalized children. I typically try to use a soft synthetic yarn which is affordable, cuddly, and washable.
My hobby is scrapbooking. I work on my albums at home and at monthly “crops”. It’s a nice creative outlet and social time as well. Think I might try needlepoint after your suggestion, we spend a lot of time on long car trips, might be a nice time filler.
So long as you don’t get car sick 😁
I am just recently semi retired and have some spare time for the first time in my life. I never had time to develop hobbies so I’m looking for something to do. In spring, summer and fall I do the yard work/ gardening and that occupies alot of my time, plus I have 3 dogs that keep me busy, but in winter I’m at odds.
I like to read but that is short lived because I have sjogrens and my eyes are very dry and my vision goes blurry after 20 minutes. By the way I use Restatis eye drops and they help alot.
I need to get the motivation to exercise on a regular basis. I can procrastinate like no other!!
Best book I ever read is A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Bachman. I weeped buckets, it’s a happy book.
Have you considered getting an e-reader of some sort (I have an I-pad mini, but there are others). I check out e-books and audiobooks from my local library. An audiobook would allow you to enjoy ‘reading’ without eye strain. If you read a lot, buying books can be expensive. Also, if I don’t really like a book, I just return it without a trip to the library. I’ve read dozens of books since I retired 6 yrs ago.
I also crochet and have recently started sewing clothes for 18” dolls (American Girl, Our Generation, etc). I made so many that I started an online ‘business’ through a Facebook page (Linda P Designs) and set up a booth in a local French Market.
Last year I joined a Silver Sneakers class at the YMCA, and I love it!
My husband and I also travel in our RV for about 3 months to escape the heat in the south and to visit our family in a Oregon. We take time to see the sights as we traverse the country.
I love retirement!
I wish our mega-Y had those classes. Instead, they call them gentle 50+ classes, but any age is allowed to join. The younger people in my class voted to become a rigorous regular class, so I could not keep up. Grrr! Why not join a regular class, if that’s what they want? (Just like so many gyms, the mega-Y counts on people dropping out.)
Linda, thank you for the tip, I am going to check out the audible books at the library. Inexpensive and easy on the old eyes.
Congratulations! What a great business.
Is that on Facebook you have Linda P Designs? Thank you
I recently learned to play Mah Jonng and I love it. I was lucky to find a couple of ladies who know the game well and were patient enough to teach a friend of mine and me. I may have to hang up my tennis racket due to injuries but have a pickleball lesson already scheduled! It seems like pickleballers are having so much fun and I want to have fun and laugh!
I’ve only played Mahjong once and it was a blast!