With restrictions starting to ease again across the country and many people looking forward to being able to make plans for travel or socialising, it’s also the perfect time to try out that new hobby, exercise class or craft that you may have been considering for a while.

So much time at home over the past few years has made many of us crave a little bit of adventure or given us the motivation to explore new interests – and it’s not just cross-stitch and crosswords that are making the list! A recent poll of members of Mirthy, an online learning and events platform and community for over 65s, highlighted a great enthusiasm for embracing more unexpected activities and interests this year, from learning to play the ukulele to taking up surfing or even flagacise.

Crafts and creative arts were the most popular pastime that members said they were hoping to do more of in 2022, followed by different forms of exercise, then learning to play a musical instrument. While the majority of new year’s resolutions don’t last much beyond the end of January, Mirthy is encouraging all its 35,000 users and those interested in joining the community to view this time as an opportunity to indulge their curiosity and find out whether that new hobby or interest is just a fleeting fancy or will become a lifetime passion.

The platform offers hundreds of different events and classes each month from cookery demonstrations to singing workshops, book clubs, Pilates and Yoga classes, and an array of educational lectures such as history talks, many of which are free to join. The sessions are run by friendly experts, academics and experienced public speakers who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for their subject with others.

As well as expanding its online offering to respond to demand for some less traditional topics of interest and activities, Mirthy is also starting to re-introduce in person events in selected locations, which they will then broaden out to more places as demand grows. This will be kicking off in March with a walking tour of some of London’s hidden historic gems by experienced blue badge your guide, Andrew Warde.

Images by Photographer Peter Kindersley

So, if you’re keen to try something new in 2022 but stuck for a bit of inspiration on where to start, here are some ideas from the Mirthy community – it’s really up to you how daring you’re feeling!

Make sweet music

According to research, most activities use just a few areas of the brain at a time but learning and playing an instrument can activate multiple parts of our brain, making it a fantastic way to keep your mind sharp and stimulated as we get older. Whether you’re a total beginner, or keen to pick back up a musical skill that you learnt in school or at young age, it’s definitely never too late to learn and there are more options for instruments to play than you could ever have time for!

Piano and guitar are some of the most popular choices, but the Mirthy poll showed a great interest in learning one instrument in particular – the ukulele. If you prefer listening to playing, Mirthy runs a fantastic range of free concerts to watch online including piano concertos and harp performances, many of which include an informative talk on the life of the composer whose work is being performed.

Get active outdoors

The over 65s having been leading the way during the pandemic in keeping fit and active, with a study from University College London showing that during the first lockdown they were the only age group to significantly increase the amount of time spent exercising. While it has been harder to keep up regular gym visits or indoor exercise classes, many people have started to embrace opportunities for being active outdoors and the added mental and physical wellbeing benefits that it brings.

This is reflected within the Mirthy community, where members have taken up everything from surfing to flagacise, and there is an increasing demand for classes that can be taken both indoors and outdoors such as Pilates and yoga. One of the most popular and unusual activities on offer regularly is laughter yoga, a class that combines laughter with breathing and stretching exercises to improve mobility, boost mood and even relieve pain.

Crank up your creativity

Everyone has a slightly different idea of what it means to be creative and the pandemic has seen an explosion of new creative at-home hobbies increase in popularity, with sales of jigsaw puzzles, cross-stitch kits and adult colouring books soaring in 2020. It’s likely that these newly found hobbies will fall by the wayside now that we are able to get out and about more, but it also opens up opportunities for trying a whole new range of creative activities.

Textile art, modge-podge and macrame were all mentioned in the Mirthy poll of activities the community would like to try in 2022, and the platform already runs sessions for photography, drawing, painting and creative writing. Attending a free taster session for something you’re interested in is a great way to find out if it’s for you before you commit to spending money on any expensive equipment or art supplies.

Visit Mirthy here to try out one of hundreds of different sessions for free.

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