Five Unexpected Activities for the Elderly

It’s fair to say that most people have some fairly strong perceptions of what the elderly members of society can and can’t do. We expect them to be comfortable with activities that don’t require much excursion, like knitting, bridge, you know, the classics. It’s worth pointing out here that there’s nothing wrong with those things, however, there are some people who aren’t satisfied with such gentle activities. There are some who still seek some real excitement in their old age and will try anything to get their physical kicks. Here is a list of the more unusual of those things, along with the reasons why they are great for older people.

This article is written on behalf of Extracare, who offer retirement villages and offer a range of activities for their residents to keep everyone active.


Tai Chi

Sometimes known as T’ai Chi Chuan, this has become one of the most popular activities that can span across all age groups. Although it is traditionally renowned as an ‘internal’ activity, there are multiple disciplines within the bracket of Tai Chi, so nearly anyone can do it at the physical level appropriate to them.

Tai Chi has been popular with elderly people for around twenty years now. With the classes focusing heavily on ‘health & balance’, it has become the perfect way for people to maintain a good level of physical and mental wellbeing, while not exerting themselves to a negative effect.

If you’re thinking ‘Tai Chi is hardly unexpected,’ then have a look at some of the more exertive styles, you’ll be surprised. If that still does work, try this next one.

If tai chi isn’t your thing, look at the possibility of other martial arts disciplines.


Yeah, why not… boxing is something that is often overlooked for the older generations, probably because you are considered sub-optimal after the age of 35, when in a competitive circuit, however, many people continue to train into their later years to maintain a good level of fitness. Interestingly, in the US, there is no maximum age limit to train with others, although to spar you must be within ten years of your partner, so a twenty year old could never fight a 65 year old.

Disaster Relief

Okay, so this isn’t a sport, but it definitely comes under the category of physical activity. Red Cross in the US fly their volunteers around the country (and sometimes further afield), providing assistance to people affected by natural disasters. Everyone needs basic live-saving skills like CPR, and there are other less physical tasks such as administration and supply handling.

If you’re a medical professional, there is a step up for you, as the Medical Reserve Corps takes volunteers for their disaster relief organisation.

Besides this, there are tonnes of charities and non-profit organisations that will happily accept retired volunteers who want to stay active and make the world a better place.


This is a great thing to do for retried people. Although it can be pricey, it’s fantastic for people that want to really get into a hobby to prevent the post-work lull.

PADI is the internationally recognised diving qualification, so if you try a few test dives and find you love it, then go get yourself a qualification that will let you dive alone, so you can start buying all your own equipment. There are also levels of qualification that let you be an instructor if you’re really into it.

Some people don’t lie cycling because they feel insecure or unsafe in the water. Although this is purely psychological, there are ways round it if you still want to go underwater. Seabob is an underwater propulsion device that means you don’t have to do the swimming part (fairly essential when diving without one) and means you can ‘bob’ straight up to the surface swiftly and with ease.

It might be worth mentioning here that you’ll need

Contemporary Dance

This may seem obvious for some already retired members of our public, but the fact is that there is currently a decline in the amount of people doing traditional and ballroom dancing as the war generations begin to come to an end. More modern dances such as street dance, samba and hip-hop are becoming much more popular, and activities like Zumba are combining all of them into a fitness-based dance.

Although this may seem daunting to the recent retiree, there are different levels of intensity depending on what you want to get from the exercise.

These five should keep you busy for a least a couple of years, and that’s only if you decide you don’t like them. If you do, and you know, you probably will, they will last a lifetime, meaning you’ll never have to suffer from post-retirement boredom ever again!


I am doing some work for Extra Care ( and I am looking for opportunities to write a guest post on a relevant blog.

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