More time on your hands in retirement can lead to loneliness, but it doesn’t have to. With so much evidence of research linking loneliness to increased mental health problems, and even reduced mortality, it’s beneficial to find your’ tribe.’
In this article, we look at where you might find that group of people that you can relate and where you will feel included. This isn’t always easy, and often takes trial and error, but it may be a secret to boosting your health and happiness in retirement.
We share some ideas about activity and health-based clubs that may help you. With social distancing restrictions in place, some of these may be limited for now, but don’t let that deter you from seeking them out and finding out how they are staying connected and delivering benefits to their members.
Here are our top picks:
- Your Local Book Club
Book clubs are a place for discussion and intellectual debate, but they’re also a great way to get to know people. When you’re new, joining a group can be intimidating, and it can be hard to know what to say. At a book club though, the book is central to the discussion and offers a focal point, so there is already a topic to discuss.
- A Golf/Tennis/Lawn Bowls Club
You’re retired, and now you have time to do more of your favourite sport or even learn a new one. Tennis is a sport that may be harder as you get older, but by playing with people your age, you can change the way you play to make it fun for both players.
Golf is a sport many women learn later in life, and joining a club is a great way to stay fit and meet fellow golfers at your level. If you’re learning, try a group lesson to get to know other beginners. Once you make friends, golf clubs are a great meeting place for socialising – think coffee or after-golf drinks.
Lawn bowls are a fun and classic Aussie pastime for retirees as it’s gentle on the body, but still fun and competitive. Join your nearest club and you’ll meet people to socialise with as well as play.
- A “Learning” Club
Have you always wanted to learn about history or how to paint? Now that you have the time you can start learning about fascinating topics and skills, for example, U3 in South Australia. While accessing learning, you can meet others who have the same interests, making friends as you go. Not only does this help increase your circle of friends, learning something new helps keep your brain healthy.
- Dance Classes & Clubs
You’re probably not going to start ballet at the age of 65, but you may consider other forms of dance like salsa or line dancing. Gentle on the knees and great for balance and coordination, dance classes for over 60’s are a fantastic way to meet people and stay healthy. Line dancing has only recently come to Australia, but it’s great fun, easy on joints, and will get you giggling away.
- Exercise Clubs (For Older Women)
Working out next to buff muscle men can be extremely unmotivating, but women’s gyms and classes for women over 65 are created to help. From Curves to Fernwood, women’s gyms help you get the most out of your fitness by giving you a personalised program. They also foster a feel-good, inclusive environment to help you feel comfortable, no matter your fitness level. The more often you attend, the more likely you’ll meet someone to invite for a coffee after your workout.
If Pilates of yoga is more your style, look for restorative classes that include a personalised plan. This stops you from getting injured trying to keep up with the gym bunnies, and you’ll enjoy the workout so much more.
Joining a club and new group is a great way to boost your health and happiness, plus keep your brain engaged in retirement. Joining something for the first time can feel daunting, but just showing up is the first step. Find something you’re interested in and give it a try. You never know, you could meet your new best friend.
Written by Caitlin R.
As a physiotherapist and personal trainer, Caitlin is passionate about health and fitness.
 U3A South Australia. 2020
All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.