The phrase "hobbies for women over 50" would once conjure up images of all of the usual suspects: knitting, crosswords, crochet, gardening, and sewing, to name but a few.
All of these hobbies are great - there's a reason why millions around the world enjoy them.
But at 50, the time for exploration and adventure is not necessarily over.
The over-50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and beyond are proving that age is just a number - anything and everything from skydiving to white water rafting has been enjoyed by people of virtually every age group.
Don’t get us wrong, knitting, sewing, gardening and reading are not boring hobbies, but it's never too late to take on a new hobby.
Here are some hobby ideas that you’ve probably not considered before - our list of the top 10 fun and unique hobbies for women over 50 and beyond!
Outdoor hobby ideas for women over 50
1) Kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, and canal boating
We’ve decided to lump all of these waterborne hobby ideas for women together. Whilst most are probably familiar with kayaking, canoeing, and canal boating, paddleboarding is relatively new.
Paddleboarding involves standing upright on a surfboard and paddling with a single long paddle. Proponents claim that the balancing act instils a unique sense of zen calm once mastered!
The UK has some of the best-linked waterways of anywhere in the world. It's even said that Birmingham has more canals than Venice. Some 35 miles of canals, to be precise!
Don't worry; we're not about to suggest canoeing around Birmingham on a summer afternoon! There are over 5,000 miles of gorgeous canals, rivers and waterways stretching the length and breadth of the UK.
Canoeing is superb for small groups, and there are many canoeing clubs set up across the country. The same goes with kayaks. 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.
You’ll also need a licence which you can purchase from the Canal and River’s Trust. Prices vary with the size of the boat and the length of time you expect to be travelling.
Maybe not the most inventive of categories, but there are so many sports out there. Our physical exercise requirements don’t drop as much after 50 as most suspect. The NHS still recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise every week
We’ve put together a handful of guides on exercise for the over-50s, including this guide on over-50s exercise routines, how to start an exercise habit at an older age and 5 YouTube channels for active over-50s.
Sports recommended by Lifeline 24 include walking football, swimming, squash and golf. Badminton, tennis, cycling and cricket are also excellent choices. Walking football has grown in popularity and can be played by anyone of any gender - it’s usually played as a bit of fun, but there have been calls for a professional league!
Who knows, if you start now, then a six-figure salary might be waiting for you by the time you retire!
Bivvying is wild camping and involves just a sleeping bag or minimal shelter. Many bivvy-lovers just take a sleeping bag with them, and plenty choose to travel alone.
Bivvying is obviously one for the outdoorsy over-50s. Still, it’s exceptionally safe in the UK and has grown in popularity with both younger and older people.
This excellent article on bivvying from The Guardian discusses bivvying, including legalities, best practices and some great anecdotes.
Of course, there’s nothing to say you can’t bring a tent, but this comes with 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 is part of the experience! Throw in the British elements, and you’ve got a real experience on your hands!
4) Wild swimming
Swimming lovers may have already sampled wild swimming. This liberating activity has taken off in recent years. The Wild Swimming website is jam-packed with superb guides and articles on wild swimming inside and out of the UK.
Wild swimming is the perfect partner to bivvying when it comes to 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 also when they can expect to hear from you.
The coldness of the British water can often put people off wild swimming, but it’s excellent for our circulation. You get used to it quickly, but of course, it depends on where you are. The further north you venture, the more cold-proof you’ll likely have to be!
Creative hobbies for women over 50
5) Learn a musical instrument
Are you looking for creative hobbies for women over 50?
Think 50 is too old for playing a musical instrument?
Countless musicians would disagree, including the lineup of still-touring Queen, Elton John, 81-years-young Tom Jones, the seemingly invincible Ozzy Osbourne, and Willie Nelson, who may take the glory at 88, even releasing a new track, We Are the Cowboys, last year.
You might have played an instrument before and given it up. You may have never learnt one and still picture yourself playing the trumpet, saxophone, drums, guitar, violin or whatever else it might be.
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 when it comes to learning. Some people pick up new tasks exceptionally well after the age of 50. Doing so can yield many neuroprotective benefits that shield us from diseases like Alzheimer’s.
6) Learn martial arts
Martial arts are another activity that has seen a serious influx from older generations. The evergreen Jackie Chan still does his own stunts today, and he’s 67, and the general health of martial arts practising cultures is usually excellent.
One of the key 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.
Meditation adds to the appeal for older people - martial arts are superb forms of holistic exercise.
Tai Chi is a real standout here. It primarily 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 of the newcomers are older individuals. Tai Chi, like yoga, can improve coordination, balance and encourage blood flow. It has several health benefits for the over-50s.
7) Join dance classes
Dancing has enjoyed a renaissance with the longstanding popularity of Strictly Come Dancing and the fame of prolific dance groups like Diversity. As a result, dance classes are more popular now than at any point in the 21st century - it's a language we can all speak and engage with regardless of background.
Dancing is excellent exercise, but the feel-good factor turns it into something much more than a workout. It bears all the hallmarks of a life-changing hobby, putting us in contact with new people, experiences, cultures and music all whilst giving our body a powerful workout.
The inclusiveness of modern dance classes also put a massive emphasis on accessibility and body positivity. While there are dance classes specifically designed for older people, you would be welcome at any dance class.
If you want to focus on dancing for exercise, then consider Zumba and Jazzercise. Both combine music, socialising and exercise.
Upcycling is slightly more conventional than some of these suggestions!
Upcycling is the process of 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.
It’s amazing what you can do with old stuff, and you need very little to get started.
Seasoned upcyclers have created successful businesses from this hobby as well.
To get started with upcycling, you just need a beaten up piece of furniture and some paint to get started.
Unique hobbies for women over 50 at home
9) Social media
There are few hobbies for women to do at home that pay over £100,000 to the over-80s, let alone the over-50s. However, granfluencers are doing precisely this, with some earning huge sums by promoting products on social media platforms like TikTok.
Confused? Let us explain! '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 of them earning a good deal of cash simply from posting 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 has the potential to 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 humour. It’s perhaps more wholesome than one might expect - a true 21st-century hobby that works for both younger and older people.
Gaming is another truly 21st-century hobby that is worthy of serious consideration.
PC, console and phone 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 out there. But can older people get into gaming?
Lifeline 24 cites a study that showed how elderly gamers had improved their memory after playing Super Mario 64. They found that gamers are becoming older, 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 much more immersive and realistic. She told the BBC that the games kept her mentally active.
‘I play Call of Duty: Black Ops when I come home from work,’ Trace Goodhew told Saga, a 52-year-old NHS manager from London.
You can’t knock it until you try it. Gaming is a superb form of escapism and can help put us in contact with other people via multiplayer games.