A group of happy older adults sit drinking coffee in a social get-together.

Activity is important at any age. Maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle keeps our bodies adaptable, our minds sharper, and our hearts happier. Activity isn’t only limited to our physical well being however. A lively social life is vital to keeping up with the effects of aging. Studies have found that those of us who maintain a healthy level of social activity do better overall than those who live solitary lifestyles.

The Science

We work our whole lives towards being able to retire in peace, but once you reach that milestone, what do you do to stay connected? Most people maintain a social circle with their friends from work, but when you don’t go into work anymore, you may lose touch. This can lead to clinical depression when coupled with a lack of continued activity. It can be difficult to get back into the social sphere when not working almost every day, but there is evidence that an engaging social life is just as important as a physically active one.

What Can You Do?

Finding ways to get out there and socialize might be challenging if you don’t know where to look. Here are a few suggestions for ways to pump new social activity into your life at any age:

Reconnect Socially

When you have more free time, you can spend some of it reaching out to those people you might not have had time for when you were more busy. Thanks to the internet, our world is more connected than ever before, so it’s easy to reach out and send a message to someone. You can stay up to date with people who live on the other side of the country, and more easily set up social get-togethers with people who live much closer.

Join A Local Organization

Idling at home can be relaxing at first, but many people don’t want to spend all of their free time sitting at home doing nothing. Finding new ways to engage and apply yourself as you get older is a great way to meet new people and keep yourself active. Whether it’s a community garden, book club, or community enrichment group, finding a new way to regularly invest yourself socially can keep your spirits high.

Try Out New Hobbies

If your current hobbies aren’t grabbing you the same way they used to, it might be a good time to learn a new skill, or develop a new hobby. This can fall in line with the above suggestion of joining a local organization. In most places there are options for adult education and retraining for new vocational services. It might not be a new career, but exercising your brain in a fresh setting can do wonders for mental elasticity.

Flex Social Skills

Beyond putting yourself in a situation where social situations are more likely, why not seek out groups that focus entirely on social activity. Improv groups, local gaming groups, and the like can put you in direct connection with other people who are also looking for the same social interaction. Finding a regularly meeting group creates a schedule, and depending on what the focus is, there can also be serious goal setting as well. Just because you haven’t tried something similar before, don’t be quick to discount it.

Don’t Let Yourself Lapse

In the same way that exercise isn’t a one-and-done affair, social activity needs to be consistently nurtured. If you find something that works for you, keep at it! Engaging in a new hobby doesn’t mean you’ll instantly take to it, or that it’ll be easy. Making new friends in new situations can be challenging, but embrace the challenge. Social interaction is vital to personal health and growth, and there’s no rule saying you ever need to put that development on pause!

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