Learn new skills | | kpcnews.com

Giving up your day job for a retired life doesn’t mean you have to give up learning new things.

In fact, it frees up a lot of time to do it. Learning new skills can help improve your physical and mental health and enable you to live independently longer. Plus, it can be really fun. Here are some ways to stay sharp even at retirement age.

Leisure courses

If you live near a university or college of any kind, including a community college, it may offer recreational classes for adults over a certain age. The University of West Florida at Pensacola, for example, offers a range of programs for people over 55 for a flat fee of $40 per year, plus a small fee per class. These lessons include musical instruments, bonsai lessons, cheese tours, visits to local sites and more.

Other universities will offer lifelong learning institutes funded by the Bernard Osher Foundation. These classes, often referred to as OLLI, provide a stress-free learning environment with no homework or tests. There are 124 OLLI programs affiliated with universities across the country, and each course offered has a low fee. Some of the classes offered in a Louisiana State University program include basic hatha yoga, line dancing, Henry VIII’s six queens, Italian wines, and financial literacy classes.

advice on aging

Your local council on aging may also offer courses that would allow you to learn a new skill or take up a new hobby. The Pima Council on Aging in Arizona, for example, offers healthy living programs to improve balance, living with diabetes, and fitness classes. Missoula, Montana, Aging Services offers virtual classes from AARP so seniors can connect from the safety of their own home and virtual support groups for caregivers.

Parks and recreation

City parks and recreation departments are another great place to look for classes for seniors, especially ones that get you moving. Many places offer free or low-cost exercise classes and programs just for seniors that work on things like improving balance and relaxation. St. Louis County, Missouri offers Wii bowling for just $2 per person and free rides at local community centers.

SilverSneakers

SilverSneakers is a free fitness and wellness program for seniors over 65 on select Medicare plans. It’s designed to get people in shape at over 15,000 fitness centers and also includes health and wellness discounts. There are also online classes so you can train from the comfort of your own home.