There are so many potential hobbies for women over 50. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to create a complete list of them - but we've done our best!
This list contains a vast range of hobby ideas, from classic hobbies like knitting, writing, and sports to lesser-known and outlandish hobbies that you've probably never considered.
When choosing a hobby, keep an open mind about what you do and don't like. You'll often find joy, fun, and contentment in unsuspected places.
Outdoor hobby ideas for women over 50
1. Kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and canal boating
While you might be familiar with kayaking, canoeing, and canal boating, paddleboarding is relatively new. These are fun hobbies if you're a water baby at heart. While kayaking and canoeing can be intense, canal boating and paddleboarding are much calmer. Paddleboarding, also known as stand-up paddleboarding or supping, is an excellent way to spend a warm afternoon on tranquil inland streams and rivers.
Paddleboarding involves standing upright on a surfboard and paddling with a single long paddle. Proponents claim that the balancing act instills a unique sense of zen calm, once mastered, of course!
Canoeing is superb for small groups, and there are many canoeing clubs across the country. The same goes for kayaking. Either option is low-impact on calm rivers and canals with low winds. Always ask a boating club in your area if you’re concerned about whether or not your rivers and streams are suitable for casual boating.
Meg McCall, Founder & CEO of Angle Oar, told Age Times: "Kayaking is a wonderful activity for people of all ages and abilities, contributing to both their physical and mental well-being. The availability of adaptive paddling products enables people with arthritis, shoulder injuries and even paralysis to kayak well into their 60s, 70s and beyond."
Perhaps not the most inventive category, but there are many sports for you to try. Our physical exercise requirements don't drop as much after 50 as some suspect, as we still need a release of endorphins now and then. Experts still recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week.
Sports recommended by Fitness Drum include walking, swimming, squash, and golf. Badminton, tennis, cycling, and cricket are also excellent choices. When trying out a new sport, you may want to consider joining sports clubs. They are a great way to meet new people and provide excellent motivation when you’re not necessarily in the mood.
Bivvying, better known as wild camping, involves just a sleeping bag or minimal shelter. Many bivvy lovers just take a sleeping bag with them, and plenty choose to travel alone. It might take you out of your comfort zone, but it is an excellent pastime if you love the great outdoors.
Bivvying is one for outdoorsy over-50s, but you need to make sure you’re allowed to participate in wild camping wherever you choose to do so.
This excellent article on bivvying by the Guardian discusses it, including legalities, best practices, and some great anecdotes.
Of course, there’s nothing to say you can’t bring a tent, but this has its drawbacks. Firstly, you're easier to spot in a tent, whereas bivvying allows you to remain stealthy and unassuming. You can also travel lightly, and sleeping under the stars while stargazing is part of the experience! There are some great camp spots around the US that are perfect for bivvying. It’s also a fantastic activity to do with a group of friends.
4. Wild swimming
Swimming lovers may have already sampled a bit of wild swimming, a liberating activity that has taken off recently. This wild swimming website is jam-packed with superb guides and articles on wild swimming in the US.
Wild swimming is the perfect partner to bivvying for true outdoorsy escapism. Of course, there are some minor perils, but nothing that you can’t reduce by remaining aware and vigilant of both your location and swimming ability.
Make sure someone knows where you are at all times and when they can expect to hear from you.
The coldness of the water in the Atlantic can often put people off wild swimming, but it's excellent for our circulation. You get used to it quickly, but it depends on where you are. The further north you venture, the more cold-proof you’ll likely have to be!
5. Horseback riding
Horseback riding is one of those things that many people would try if granted the opportunity. There's no wrong time to take up horseback riding, and many women over 50 are perfectly comfortable on a horse.
If you want to try horseback riding, take some friends and family with you. It will be one heck of a laugh, and you might even leave the experience having found a new passion. Interacting with animals is also hugely calming and can help relieve stress.
Cycling is a low-impact exercise that is ideal for women over 50. Unlike running or hiking, cycling reduces pressure and impact around the knees while simultaneously working out the glutes and hamstring, which aids balance and lowers body strength.
It's crucial to protect yourself when cycling, so make sure to grab the protective gear you need. Flat parklands are an excellent choice for cycling during warmer and colder months, but check whether bikes are permitted before lugging your gear to the site.
For those who want to travel greater distances without peddling the whole way, e-bikes are superb these days and have large enough batteries to accommodate many hours of flat and low-incline riding. If you don’t own an e-bike, you can usually rent one from popular cycling locations.
7. Learn martial arts
Martial arts have recently enjoyed serious attention from older generations. The evergreen Jackie Chan still does his own stunts today, and he's nearly 70, and the general health of martial-art practicing cultures is usually excellent.
One of the critical tenets of martial arts that make them suitable for older people is their focus on flexibility and balance and the role of meditation. Most martial arts can be both high and low impact - martial arts for the over-50s will focus on balance, calmness, and flexibility.
Tai Chi is a real standout here. It focuses on meditation, balance, control, and relaxation, though it is still a martial art.
Tai Chi classes have sprung up across the country, and many newcomers are older. Tai Chi, like yoga, can improve coordination and blood flow, bringing several health benefits in later life.
Creative hobbies for women over 50
8. Learn a musical instrument
Looking for creative hobbies?
Think 50 is too old to start playing a musical instrument?
Countless musicians would disagree, including the lineup of still-touring Queen, Elton John, 82-years-young Tom Jones, the seemingly invincible Ozzy Osbourne, and Willie Nelson, who maybe takes the glory at 89, even releasing a new track, We Are the Cowboys, in 2020.
You might have played an instrument before and given it up. Or you may have never learned one and still picture yourself playing the trumpet, saxophone, drums, guitar, or violin.
But can you learn an instrument past 50?
Absolutely, and scientists believe there are tremendous benefits to doing so. The older we are, the more disciplined we can sometimes be regarding learning. Some people pick up new tasks exceptionally well after 50, which can yield many neuroprotective benefits that shield us from diseases like Alzheimer’s.
9. Learn a new language
The prospect of learning a new language may seem daunting initially, but the rewards can be enormous. Not only is learning a new language a humbling activity, but it's also one of the best things you can do to boost your brainpower and memory.
Language learning apps and websites such as Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone have revolutionized how we can learn a new language on our smartphones. So next time you take a trip, why not challenge yourself to learn a few phrases in the country's native language?
There are also thousands of free and paid smartphone apps. If you want to go down a more traditional route, you'll find many highly-rated language-learning books at bookstores and online.
10. Join dance classes
Dancing has enjoyed a renaissance with the longstanding popularity of Dancing With The Stars and the fame of prolific dance groups like the Desi Hoppers. It's a language we can all speak and engage with, regardless of our backgrounds.
Dancing is excellent exercise, but the feel-good factor turns it into much more than a workout. It can be a life-changing hobby, connecting us with new people, experiences, cultures, and forms of music, all while giving our body a powerful workout.
The inclusiveness of modern dance classes also emphasizes accessibility and body positivity. For example, there are dance classes specifically designed for older people, but you would be equally welcome at most dance classes.
If you want to focus on dancing for exercise, consider Zumba and Jazzercise. Both combine music, socializing, and exercise. Doing dance classes with a group of friends is also lots of fun!
Upcycling is slightly more conventional than some of these suggestions!
Upcycling is converting old furniture and other objects into new and improved items. Typical examples might be reupholstering chairs with new fabric or repainting a chest of drawers and fitting it with funky new handles. Designing your own home decor is fun and productive - a great hobby for DIY enthusiasts and newbies alike.
It's amazing what you can do with old stuff, and you need very little to get started - you just need a beaten-up piece of furniture and some paint.
Seasoned upcyclers have also created successful businesses from this hobby, as there is a drive towards sourcing furniture and decor more sustainably.
12. Interior design
Tying in with the above, interior design is the perfect hobby for empty nesters who have spare rooms to experiment with. However, your college-bound children might not want you to rip their rooms to shreds immediately!
Redesigning rooms is an exciting hobby that doesn't have to break the bank. This is an excellent opportunity for you to apply your upcycling skills. Make a plan for how you want to design the room - you might want to opt for something quite traditional or more outlandish.
Feng shui, Scandi design, and other imported styles are fun to experiment with. Interior design is a productive and fun way to spend free time while gaining a real sense of achievement. If you're not content with your first project, the good news is that you can paint over everything and start all over again!
The age-old practice of calligraphy dates back to ancient China. Traditional calligraphy uses brushes to paint lettering and characters, but calligraphy pens, fountain pens, and quills are also popular. Many people choose to practice with calligraphy pens before moving to brushes.
Calligraphy is a well-known relaxing hobby that is excellent for mental health and can also help boost memory and hand-eye coordination. Getting started is cheap and easy - you can buy comprehensive starter kits for under $50.00. Traditional Chinese kits come with brushes and traditional ink. All you'll need is some calligraphy or drawing paper which you can get online or at your nearest craft store.
14. Candle making
Candle making is fun and relatively straightforward but with enormous potential for creativity. Many candle makers have gone on to turn their pursuits into small businesses, selling on Etsy and other craft sites.
The main ingredient is wax, of which there are a few different types; paraffin wax, beeswax, soy wax, vegetable wax, and coconut wax. Wax is relatively cheap, and it's possible to buy bulk offcuts on eBay, which can be melted down. Then, you’ll need some wicks, scents, and molds or containers.
When melting wax, ensure you have plenty of ventilation, as the fumes in some scented waxes are pretty potent. Ideally, it would be best if you melted your wax outside. A camping stove is perfect - you can melt the wax on the patio or further down the garden.
15. Jewelry making
Jewelry making is a superb hobby that has become easy to access recently due to the availability of readymade jewelry-making kits. There are many ways to make jewelry, from recycling found and natural materials to using casting resin.
From bracelets to earrings and necklaces, there are many options. Still, it's best to focus on just one or two solid ideas rather than making everything at once. Like most hobbies, things can get overwhelming if you over-commit too early in your journey.
There’s a vast range of jewelry kits available on Amazon and eBay. Many contain everything you need to get started, including pliers, drills, and fittings.
16. Flower arranging
Flower arranging is the art of arranging flowers and other foliage to create bouquets, wreaths, posies, and other arrangements. It has been around since ancient Egyptian times. Working with flowers is rhythmic and humbling, and there are many tutorials you can follow on YouTube.
Floristry is fun and engaging and comes in handy for events such as anniversaries and weddings. Also, gifting your self-made arrangements to others is fantastic. With patience and practice, the hobby of floristry can bloom into a lifelong pursuit or even into a business.
Yet another ancient creative hobby that has been passed down through generations for thousands of years. The art of paper folding, origami, is most often associated with Japan, though it might have originated in China.
As you might imagine, origami is exceptionally cheap and easy to start with. Hundreds of origami books and starter kits are available, covering everything from flowers and animals to Star Wars and Pokemon.
While origami favors a patient and careful hand, it's immensely engaging even to those who don't typically describe themselves as patient and cautious! In addition, origami is an excellent hobby for mental health and is highly portable. All you need is paper, so you can do it anywhere.
Journaling is a reflective and exploratory hobby that helps people reflect on their lives with warmth and appreciation. As well as helping to organize thoughts and memories, journaling is a creative practice that helps us investigate our innermost thoughts and feelings. It’s also a great way to record memorable events that you or your loved ones might otherwise forget, no matter how seemingly small they are.
Getting into the habit of journaling is more than just a hobby - it can turn into a cathartic lifelong pursuit. Recording your day-to-day life is also an excellent memory aid, allowing you to reflect on what happened on a given day so you can recall and verify your memories.
Journaling pairs well with calligraphy. Dedicated journalers infuse their diaries with drawings, doodles, and paper scraps, which brings us to the next hobby.
Scrapbooks are similar to journals in many ways but are more of a crafty hands-on hobby. Not everyone enjoys handwriting, and wrist pain and arthritis can hinder it, which makes scrapbooking an excellent alternative.
Most people are familiar with scrapbooking. It involves cutting, pasting, and arranging memories from historical events to family history, life milestones, or memorable moments such as weddings, holidays, and graduations. It's a great way of immortalizing the memories of loved ones, friends, and family.
All you need to get started is a scrapbook, scissors, glue, and a big box of stuff to sort through! If you have photos, you might want to get them copied so you can keep the original. Who knows, scrapbooking may just become your new favorite hobby.
20. Coloring and drawing
There’s an artist in everybody - many people who take up drawing unlock a hidden new skill! Even if you think you don’t have a creative side, a few hours with a pad and pen might change your mind.
It’s easy to start with coloring and drawing as a hobby. Still, it might be wise to invest in some proper kit rather than cracking on with a pen or pencil and a piece of A4 paper.
Drawing with the assistance of a coloring book is an excellent idea if you want to create striking designs without spending hours and hours on them. Many adult coloring books cover everything from animals and landscapes to city scenes and fantasy worlds.
21. Jigsaw puzzles
Jigsaw puzzles are a fantastic way to occupy your time and probably one of the most reliable and widely-enjoyed hobbies ever. In addition to classic jigsaws, you can find many crazy and challenging puzzles that test your gray matter.
Jigsaw puzzles are also great for your cognition and memory. Scientific studies have revealed that doing jigsaw puzzles regularly can prevent Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases.
22. Dressmaking, sewing, or knitting
It's amazing what you can do with a sewing machine and some old clothes and bits of fabric. While dressmaking is a skill, plenty of excellent tutorials are available on YouTube. You can also find pre-made sewing and dressmaking kits containing everything you need to start. Wouldn't it be great to make your own clothes?
Upcycling your clothes, curtains, or odds and ends can result in remarkable results. Knitting and crocheting are among the most popular hobbies for over 50s and need no introduction.
Whether it’s poetry, short stories, or blogging, writing is a hobby you can take anywhere. You don't need to write a novel to get something out of writing - you can go where your imagination takes you - which is how many great books start, after all!
With time and dedication, writing is a rewarding hobby that allows you to explore your thoughts and feelings while allowing your creative juices to run free. Writing syncs nicely with calligraphy, journaling, and scrapbooking. You can find examples of people’s beautiful journals on Pinterest and Instagram.
24. TV and film
If watching Netflix was a hobby, it'd probably be the most popular hobby in the world! TV and film enthusiasts can turn their pastime into a hobby by comparing notes on internet forums and discussion boards. There's nothing wrong with being enthusiastic about watching the TV - it's one of our favorite things to do for a reason!
The platform LetterboxD is a social network for film and documentary lovers and has become a haven for those who love to write about films and listen to others’ interpretations.
25. Reading and book clubs
Similarly to the above, one way to elevate your love for reading to a hobby level is by joining a book club. Book clubs are making a comeback, and you can find them in places close to you. If there are no book clubs you know of, get a bunch of friends together and start your own.
There are also many online book clubs, some hosting regular meets and seminars to discuss reading material.
26. Board games
Board games are a much-loved pastime for many, but board game clubs can take that love to a new level.
Again, board game clubs are more popular than many might assume. Facebook is an excellent platform for finding groups of people who are also interested in board games. If playing board games is something you and your friends love to do, you can always start a club by hosting game nights and inviting others to join in the fun.
Unique hobbies for women over 50 to do at home
27. Social media and content creation
There are few hobbies for women at home that can pay over $100,000 when you're over 80, let alone 50. Granfluencers are doing precisely this, though, with some earning huge sums by promoting products on social media platforms like TikTok.
For anyone confused, 'granfluencers’ are older social media influencers that post content to platforms like Instagram and TikTok. By generating hits and likes, they can strike big deals with brands. There are more than a handful of successful granfluencers around these days, many earning a good deal of cash from posting trending content to social media!
As we descend through the 70s, 60s, and 50s, there are probably many more influencers around raking it in from social media. It could be the perfect retirement hobby, and though it's tempting to brush it off - "it'll never be me" - it has to be someone!
People enjoy the content of these individuals, and their prominence is owed to their characters, opinions, and humor. It’s perhaps more wholesome than one might expect - a 21st-century hobby that works for both younger and older people.
PC, console, and phone video gaming are great hobbies that younger people vouch for endlessly. Millions of young people can't be wrong - gaming is one of the most solid and enjoyable hobbies there is. But can older people get into gaming?
Lifeline 24 cites a study that showed how elderly gamers had improved memory after playing Super Mario 64. In addition, they found gamers are becoming older. And not just when it comes to phone games like Candy Crush and Bejewelled, but also blockbuster titles like Call of Duty.
Hilda Knott became an 86-year-old internet sensation in 2013 when footage revealed her enjoying Grand Theft Auto IV on a 65-inch TV screen. Grand Theft Auto is an ultraviolent shooter game where players can commit brutal crimes. It's been around since the 90s, but current releases have become more immersive and realistic. She told the BBC that the games kept her mind active.
You can’t knock it until you try it. Video games are a superb form of escapism and can help put us in contact with other people via multiplayer games.
A bit of an extension of martial arts, self-defense is not a conventional hobby. Still, it's enduringly helpful and great for fitness and coordination. Self-defense classes take many forms, with some inspired by martial arts, such as Karata, Aikido, and Krav Maga.
Self-defense classes are becoming increasingly popular, and you can find them across the US. Self-defence does not require being super-fit; you can also find classes geared towards older people in most cities.
Befriending is more than just a hobby. Charities are always searching for volunteers to befriend older individuals, those with learning and physical disabilities, or anyone who feels isolated and alone.
Many start befriending because they want to do a good deed and keep doing it because of the genuinely fulfilling connections they form with their new friends. While it may have challenging moments, befriending is excellent for your well-being and can provide a real sense of pride and achievement.
31. Wine tasting
Need an excuse to go wine tasting? Call it your hobby, and you're good to go! Wine-tasting classes are fun and take dedicated hobbyists around the world visiting vineyards.
Wine-tasting tours are a great way to get out and about and meet new people, too. Napa Valley is one of the most renowned wine regions in the world, and a trip to the wineries there will definitely spark a passion for the industry.
It might be controversial to call wine-tasting stress relief, but learning how to taste it and the craftsmanship behind it is a great way to get your mind off things. Also, once you're sipping some prime reserves in an idyllic countryside setting, it's hard not to feel relaxed!
32. Stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy is one of the most diverse hobbies going. There is no age limit on laughing, and amateur stand-up nights are much more easy-going and inclusive than many assume.
If you want to get involved in some stand-up, keep an eye out for these amateur nights at comedy clubs close to you. As an older woman, you’ve also got more life experience, meaning you’ll probably have enough comedy gold from your life.
Most comedians turn professional by going down the amateur stand-up route, and you don't know how much you'll enjoy it until you try it. So if you're good at making people laugh, give it a go!