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Top ten skills to learn in retirement

Retirement is the perfect time to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby. You can meet new friends, keep your brain active and have some real fun at the same time. From informal learning online or with a local group, to booking on a professionally run course, there’s something to suit all needs and requirements.

Here’s our top ten skills to learn in retirement…

  1. A new language

    Planning to do some travelling in retirement? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to be able to read Latin, or speak Spanish? Learning a new language is great fun, incredibly useful and bound to impress your travel companions! Consider investing in a small locally-run group or one-to-one tuition, or you could try one of the many online courses available.

  2. Bridge

    Played by over 220 million people worldwide, bridge is the most popular card game in the world. It can be played at many different levels, ranging from a social foursome to national and international competitions. It is also a mental workout unlike any other and is one of the few activities to stimulate both halves of the brain in equal measure – perfect for keeping your brain busy in retirement.

  3. Photography

    If you’ve been ‘pointing and snapping’ your whole life then now’s the perfect time to learn the skill of capturing truly stunning pictures that really do speak a thousand words. The great thing about photography is that once you know the basics, you can do all of the practicing on the people and places you love.

  4. Painting

    There are so many types of painting you could learn and enjoy. The four main choices are: oils (traditional or water soluble), acrylics, watercolours, and pastel. It’s a very personal choice, and if you don’t get on with one type of paint, be sure to try another.

  5. Computer skills

    Joining a course in retirement to learn how to use a tablet or computer – together with the internet and a plethora of downloadable applications – will open you up to a whole new world of communication and sharing. See and speak to your loved ones with live video chats, share photos instantly online and keep in touch with pals, ex-colleagues and long lost school friends on Facebook.

  6. Upcycling

    It’s not just a buzzword for the young and trendy – furniture restoration is a hobby everyone can enjoy. Take your outdated furniture, or join the thousands who scour online selling sites for preloved pieces, and give them a whole new lease of life. Start by finding your local stockists of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to pick up high quality and easy-to-use products produced especially for this purpose.

  7. Creative writing

    Whether it’s writing fiction, writing poetry, or life writing (biography and autobiography) that inspires you most, sitting down with a pen and paper to put your thoughts and memories into words can be incredibly therapeutic. For a structured course to learn everything about writing and getting published try the Open University’s Creative Writing course, where you can learn from home.

  8. Yoga

    Yoga can be especially beneficial for seniors: from reducing blood pressure and your heart rate to alleviating the symptoms of arthritis and easing back pain. Your strength, balance and posture can improve and you may even sleep better. The poses can be adapted to your physical limits, so finding a yoga class led by an expert practitioner will allow you to exercise with the least risk of injury.

  9. A new instrument

    It really is never too late to learn a play a new instrument – it is also said to be great for cognitive skills and keeping the brain active. There are so many choices available, playing the piano, violin, guitar or saxophone are all popular options. Perhaps start by watching YouTube tutorials or speak to a local music tutor who can advise you on instruments you may not have considered.

  10. Woodwork

    From creating one-off pieces like a personal hand carved toy box for your grandchild, to creating a hobby business selling what you have created, what better reward for your time than seeing other people cherishing your finished pieces?