Trying new activities and meeting up with friends is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body active. A healthy social life helps ward off loneliness and being out with friends and family also keeps your body on the move. But to stay active, you have to find events and activities that interest you - and keep you interested.
Online Resources to Get Started
An easy way to find out about community events is to use the technology that's increasingly user friendly and often requires little input from you beyond signing up for information. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram make it especially convenient to both keep in touch with friends and also find other like-minded people who share your interests and your ideas for fun.
Whether you use social media sites or just like to check out the websites of favorite places, there's a lot of information at your fingertips. You'll discover times and dates of shows, exhibitions, classes, lectures, or special events that are of particular interest to you. Many organizations also offer deals, discounts, or last-minute specials to their online subscribers.
If you're not up to speed on social media sites like Facebook and aren't sure how to follow Twitter let alone glean good information from it, there are plenty of ways to learn. Local senior centers often have classes on navigating social media sites, and many high school students are more than willing to offer advice and show you what to do.
Social media is just one tool to help you find interesting events you want to attend. “People get their information from so many sources today," says Julieane Frost, manager of marketing, communications, and design at the Worcester Art Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts. “They can learn about cultural events from the daily newspapers, community weekly publications, the radio, the internet, and television."
Once you know how to use social media, you'll find it saves you time in the long run. Follow a specific place or create your own Facebook group with friends you regularly see. If you are part of the Red Hat Society or a local star-gazing group, one Facebook page will keep all the members in touch, up to date, and able to communicate about details. It's easier than calling a group of 12 friends to organize who's going to go, what time to meet, and where everyone wants to stop for lunch.
"Like" To Stay in the Loop
You don't have to spend hours searching for events. One of the benefits of social media is that it brings the updates and information right to your inbox, and you can control the information flow. “'Liking' the Facebook pages of organizations you like is a good strategy for learning about events and programs," says Frost. “If [people] are on Instagram, they can also follow us to see photos of things happening here at the museum."
If exploring social media sites is unappealing to you, don't forget you can just get on email lists to keep up with current and future events, says Robert Burgess, public relations coordinator at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts. “The best way to stay connected is to subscribe to Tower Hill's e-newsletter - or the newsletter or an organization in your city - which highlights events and programs that are coming up," he says. “Visitors can also always check the online calendar on our website to see activities that are coming up soon or later on."
Join the Discussion Online
Once you find a favorite spot, you'll likely discover there are other people who feel the same way. “We often see groups of people coming together in all demographics: families, seniors, photographers, artists, friends using Tower Hill as a meet-up spot," says Burgess.
Tower Hill, a renowned horticulture organization, also shares information about growing plants on its Facebook page and invites discussion among Facebook members. Museums, nature sanctuaries, concert halls, and other attractions offer classes, seminars, trips, and events that let you meet other people who share your specific interests.
And most organizations offer extra information that can help you plan your outing. You'll uncover background details about an exhibition, stories of local history, tips for nearby dining, or links to other organizations you might like.
Staying active by using a computer sounds a little contradictory, but once you find the best way it works for you, it will open up many more opportunities than you knew existed.