Fitness is undoubtedly a key cornerstone to happy, healthy living. This is especially important for Seniors. We’ve expounded its many benefits on this very blog, and discussed ways for Seniors to stay active either outside or from the comfort of their own home. But fitness is only one facet of activity; being active is also about pursuing personal passions, satiating curiosity and meeting like-minded people who share your interests and proclivities.
Hobbies can be socially, spiritually, intellectually and physically enriching, and are a great way for Seniors to stay engaged and active. Although it may seem that activities in the GTA are geared toward youth, there are actually a number of wonderful resources for Seniors looking to pick up (or continue) a hobby.
If you, or a loved one in your life, are looking for a fun and rewarding hobby, then hopefully you find something that sparks your interest in the following eight ideas. For most of the following entries, we have recommended a place (or club) through which you can try your hobby, although some are ubiquitous enough that you can find them just about anywhere. Let’s take a look!
Act at the ACT II Studio
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players”. If the words of the Immortal Bard ring true for you, perhaps you should give acting a try. Acting is a great way to gain confidence, get in touch with your empathetic and emotional side, and bask in the sweet spotlight for a while.
The Estelle Craig ACT II Studio is a drama centre and theatre program specifically for people over the age of 50. They offer workshops that help you develop your dramatic skills, among like-minded and supportive people. And they present theatrical projects with very Seniors-focused themes, challenging stereotypes about aging and health, and discussing social issues relevant to the day. As ardent advocates for Seniors issues ourselves, we at Integracare love that these kinds of centres exist. Click here for more information about our own advocacy and care services.
Practice Some Gentle Yoga
Yoga, or at least the traditional kind from India, exists at a crossroads between meditation and physicality, emphasizing the link between the body and spirit. On the spiritual end, many find it calming, and attribute to it a greater ability to focus and be present. On the physical end, yoga can help improve balance, muscle strength and cardiovascular health.
There are yoga classes specifically for Seniors throughout the GTA, at various rec centres, or you can search for chair yoga or gentle yoga classes, which might have names like Restorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Yin Yoga. Or, from the comfort of your own home, pop in a guided yoga tape or read our post on guided stretching exercises for Seniors. And contact us about our Physiotherapy service.
Kick Up Your Heels at the Toronto Swing Dance Society
Whether you remember the jazz era, or just fancy kicking up your heels and moving to the rhythm, swing dance is a fun shimmy down memory lane. And with all the fun you’re having, you’ll hardly pay attention to all the exercise your body is getting. Dancing is wonderful for cardiovascular health, balance, and – yes – feeling youthful.
Offering regular dance classes, workshops, events and member meetings throughout the year, the Toronto Swing Dance Society is your one-stop spot for all things swing. And at just $15/year, membership is quite reasonable. Check out their website online, or visit them at the Lithuanian House (Around Bloor St. W and Dundas) during class hours.
Join The Amateur Winemakers of Ontario
The jury’s still out on the health benefits of a glass of wine a day, as per this Harvard Health Blog overview. Some claim that a glass of red wine is an all-purpose anti-aging tool gifted to us from God. Others are a little sceptical. But the vast majority of medical professionals agree that a moderate amount of red wine – or any alcohol for that matter – is safe. So with that in mind, you might as well toast a glass.
If you’ve ever been interested in making the wine yourself, the Amateur Winemakers of Ontario club is a great place to get started. Members of this club discuss winemaking from both a beginners and an advanced standpoint, sharing resources, knowledge and – of course – the odd glass of homemade wine.
Put Together a Coin or Stamp Collection
There is something uniquely satisfying about collecting. Maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt, the comfort of nostalgia or the admiration of rarity… Who knows? But whoever has collected coins or stamps can attest to the fact that it is a wonderfully engaging hobby.
To share your collection, trade information on leads or just chat about what interests you, try the Toronto Coin Club, the North York Coin Club, the North Toronto Stamp Club or the GTA Philatelic Alliance (an assemblage of member clubs, with a focus on collecting).
Carry a Tune With the Whole Note
The voice of an angel never gets old. If you have the ability to sing well (or even if you don’t yet!), consider joining a choir. Not only is it a fantastic form of self-expression, but it’s also an easy way to meet people.
The Whole Note, the popular music magazine based in Toronto, lists a number of choirs in their choral directory that are open to new members. Don’t just sing in the shower anymore; share your gift with others.
Get Your Green Thumb at Toronto Botanical Garden
Being in the city, there can be precious few opportunities for one to work on their green thumb. That’s a shame, because working with earth and plants can be very therapeutic, as anyone with a garden will attest to. There’s something about the act of planting, nurturing and watching life grow that warms the soul.
Luckily, you can still get your green thumb at the Toronto Botanical Garden, which offers a number of courses surrounding plants. Even if you don’t have a sprawling garden of your own, you can find something here: beekeeping classes, floral design, composting, preserving and even making beeswax candles.
Learn a New Language With Duolingo
Now, who’s to say you have to leave the home for a stimulating hobby? In the internet age, many hobbies can be undertaken online, from the comfort of your own home. One such hobby that can be done for free online is learning a language. Whether it is to communicate with a new neighbour or because you are travelling to a new country, or simply because you love the sound – whatever your reason for wanting to learn a new language, it’s never too late to try.
The website Duolingo.com has easy, interactive and fun courses for a number of different languages. You work at your own speed, advancing to the next level when you feel like you are ready. Best of all, it is completely free, with no hidden fees or ulterior motives.
While it’s wonderful to stay active and get exercise, it’s also important to keep yourself stimulated in other ways: intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. With a number of fun, enriching and social hobbies to choose from in the GTA, Seniors have many great hobbies to choose from. Try these eight spectacular ideas, or let us know if you have a hobby or club you are passionate about.