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Planning Retirement Online

Mind Games

Keeping fit mentally is important as we get older and in the area of hobbies and interests there are many enjoyable ways of doing so. What’s more, they can be very cheap if you’re happy to stay at home and get your mental exercise there.

The "Times" Killer Su DokuCrosswords and jigsaws have always been popular; both are very good ways to keep the brain active. Sudoko is now immensely popular, too, and every newspaper has a daily puzzle in, just as they have a crossword. You can play sudoko, solve crosswords and engage in other types of puzzles by going to

Hobbies Groups and Links

Hobbies and Interests

Physical activities and sport

Mind Games

Creative Hobbies

The Great Outdoors

There are some excellent computer games for keeping the mind alert. We’re not talking about the ‘Wham Bam Thank you Ma’m’ type of game but the more cerebral ones that are available. Chess has always been on computers but there is now a whole range of games to keep your brain active. Visit Amazon – - to see some of those that are available.

Card and board games also provide brain food. There are endless board games that you can play, either on your own or with the family, as there are card games. Card games also come on the computer, if you can’t be bothered with cards themselves, and, again, you can use Amazon to see a selection.

The Right Way to Play Bridge: Complete Reference to Successful Acol Bidding and the Key Principles of Play - For Improving Players (Right Way S.)One of the best card games for exercising the grey cells is Bridge. You can take bridge lessons and then join a club, play at your golf club or start your own circle. Beware, though – it can become very competitive if you let it! You can find out all you need to know about bridge (except how to play it really well) through the English Bridge Union.

Go to  and participate in, or even initiate, debates about some of the issues that affect us all. You can do it on line or in face-to-face ‘Pie and Pint’ groups and the outcome of these debates may then be passed on to decision-makers in order to assist them. You could therefore help shape the society of the future. 

For something a bit different, if you like maps how about finding out more about them from the experts and becoming an expert yourself! If you're retired, then, for £15, you can join the British Cartographic Society, which is dedicated to exploring, developing and enjoying the world of maps.

Learning a new skill also keeps the brain active, so think about learning something new in retirement. How about one of the arts and crafts (see our Arts and Crafts section), watercolour painting, stained glass or cooking? Whatever you want to learn, it will stimulate your mental faculties. You can go away on an activity weekend, or week, where you can learn some of these skills.

There is a host of other ways to keep you thinking in retirement. You could get involved with genealogy and trace your family history or you could do some research work on the history of your local area. How about doing some adult education courses like learning a language or improving your IT skills? Remember, though, that keeping fit mentally doesn’t mean you have to do academic studies – if you’re exercising your brain in any way, you’re helping it to keep fit.

To help your thoughts in keeping fit mentally, as well as the activities mentioned on this page, think about the following:

  • Learning a language
  • Improving your IT skills
  • Attending day or evening classes at your local FE college
  • Starting or joining an investment club and following the stock market
  • Doing amateur dramatics, having to learn lines for your part

Now, take a look through the other pages and see if anything takes your fancy – or something might trigger another inspiration. If you don’t find what you want, however, take a look at the Sports and Activities section, or go to Amazon where you will be certain to find a book on the hobby or interest of your choice

This Guide to Hobbies and Interests is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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