These days, when you retire from work, there are so many fun and fulfilling ways to spend your time. From devoting more time to a favourite hobby or hitting the open road in search of adventure, sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start!
However you choose to spend your days, it’s a great idea to dedicate at least some of your time to learning something new. Whether you take up music or art, learn a language, or sign up for an online course, the possibilities are endless and the benefits to your health and wellbeing are many.
So, to inspire you to find something new to learn today, in this article we’re sharing three important benefits of lifelong learning as you age.
1) Improve your brain function
Our brain is like a muscle, and just like those in your body, when you exercise it regularly it gets stronger and healthier. You can do this daily through enjoyable activities such as reading, doing a puzzle or listening to a podcast. However, if you challenge yourself to learning something new that is going to make your brain to work harder, the benefits are even greater.
This was shown in a 2013 study, where cognitive function was measured in adults aged 60–90. Participants were divided into two groups, and the first learnt a complex skill such as quilting or digital photography, while the second group spent the same amount of time on simpler mental tasks such as crossword puzzles. After three months, the first group showed a significantly higher level of improvement to their memory and cognitive function compared to the second.
2) Boost your self-esteem and confidence
There’s nothing like mastering a new skill to give your confidence a boost. You can start small by learning how to do something new in the kitchen, such as a making your own pasta or attempting a dish you saw on your favourite cooking show. Or you may wish to commit to a craft or hobby that will take a little longer to learn such as drawing, knitting, golf or woodworking.
There are plenty of resources available to help you teach yourself a wide and wonderful array of new skills these days. You can borrow a book from the library, sign up for a class or watch an online tutorial on YouTube. Each new skill you master will provide you with a great sense of wellbeing and purpose, plus plenty of motivation and confidence to start another project.
3) New skills to enhance your lifestyle
When you’re actively learning new things on an ongoing basis, you gain many practical and life skills that can improve how you feel and live. For example, gaining new cooking skills can help you to focus more on nutrition, learning a new language can enhance your communication and taking up yoga provides many health benefits for the body and mind.
By choosing activities and subjects that interest you and can help make your life easier, healthier or happier, you get twice the benefits – a definite win-win.
What will you learn next?
The extra time you have available in retirement to finally do what you want to do is a precious gift – so be sure to make the most of it! Explore your options and find something new to learn on a regular basis. You’ll gain a sense of purpose and a boost in confidence in the short term, and enhanced memory and cognitive function in the long term. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Over to You
Do you have a story about a new learning in retirement you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Simply post a comment below! You can also get in touch with our friendly managers on 03 95174 2384 if you have any questions at all about our Village.