Five fresh, fabulous and exciting ways to catch up with friends

Many people find that, contrary to popular belief, they are busier than ever in retirement. Research shows that regular catch-ups with friends are important for our overall health and wellbeing. Some studies have even found that older adults who have meaningful relationships and social support are likely to live longer. With that in mind, here are five fun ways to spend quality time with friends that aren’t your usual coffee or lunch date (though these are still great options).

Co-join an exercise program

Doing a fitness class with a friend has lots of benefits – it creates a shared interest, locks in a regular time to meet up, and increases the chance that you’ll stay motivated about exercise. If you’re looking for a low-impact activity, try water aerobics or a yoga class; or check in with your local gym about cardio and strength classes for active over 50s (many offer discounted memberships). Dance workouts such as Zumba are another great option for a fun and healthy social activity.

Travel with friends

Travel is one of the greatest friendship-bonding experiences – giving you extended time to catch up on each other's lives and create new shared memories that can be relived for years to come. Many travel operators offer small-group tours in Australia. Looking for the best places to explore? Consider a rail journey across the Nullarbor; a cruise along the Kimberley coastline or a four-wheel drive expedition through Tropical North Queensland. If a big trip isn’t on the cards, try planning for a weekend away or even a day tour of your closest capital city – you never know what adventures await.

Volunteer together

Volunteering can be a wonderful opportunity to pursue or reignite a passion – and is even more fun with a friend. Activities might include lending a green thumb to community gardens; helping out in an animal shelter, or organising a fundraiser. Go Volunteer is a great one-stop-shop for opportunities in your local area; you can also enquire with reputable not-for-profit organisations such as the Australian Red Cross, Landcare and RSPCA.

Take a class

Have you always wanted to do a ceramics or leadlighting course? Maybe you have an interest in native beekeeping or tech upskilling? Recruiting a friend to do a short course with you is the perfect motivation to learn something new – and will give you lots of new and interesting things to talk about. TAFE is a fantastic resource, as well as Community Colleges Australia, which can link you with not-for-profit learning organisations across metropolitan, regional, and rural locations.

Join or start a club

From bridge and book clubs to Men’s Shed and theatre groups, you can likely find a range of clubs and activities that will connect you and your friends through a shared hobby. If you can’t find a club that suits you, start one! Community Facebook groups and Meetup are great places to recruit other members – and make your friendship circle even bigger.

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Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency Pty Ltd (Apia) ABN 14 099 650 996 AR 239591 is an authorised representative of AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI), the issuer of Home, Landlord, Car, Caravan, Motorhome, Boat, Travel & Compulsory Third Party Personal Injury (CTP) Insurance.

The information is intended to be of general nature only. Subject to any rights you may have under any law, we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information. Please make your own enquiries.