Looking for something to do in retirement?

February 15, 2019 GMT

When most people retire, the first thing they usually think about is sleeping late — no more sitting in traffic going to work. Yet, after a few months, they are beginning to look for activities.

Googling “why i t is important for seniors to stay ac tive” produces many pages and reasons why, from keeping your mind sharp, to strengthening your muscles and balance, to being social.

Houston’s community colleges, such as San Jacinto College and Lone Star College, offer many classes, from different exercises to the arts and a little bit in between — all focused on senior citizens.

“We offer a variety of classes for those 55-plus in our Continuing and Professional Development (CPD) program that are fun and affordable lessons in areas such as dance, martial arts, ceramics, cake design, crochet, photography, gentle yoga, drawing, and many others,” said Abijah Kratochvil, educational leader, and learning and development program, San Jacinto College.

Tai chi is one of the more h ighly recommended classes for senior citizens, for many reasons.

“Tai chi helps strengthen ba lance; that is important because falls are often prevalent for seniors. This class helps improv e balance, lowers blood pressure, and offers many other health benefits. The class is $40, but we offer a 10 percent discount to those 55 and over, so that does not include the discount,” Kratochvil said.

San Jacinto offers more than 40 course options that have been developed for the purpose of leisure learning and to help people expand their horizons.

“We are offering new classes on a regular basis, so continue to check our website www.sanjac.edu/cpd and/or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SanJacCPD/. Many of the people who take our classes take other classes.

“Some of the classes last four hours, some one hour a week, some are ongoing; so those in classes see some of the same people on a regular basis and friendships are built,” said Kratochvil.

With three campuses, San Jacinto also offers free presentations on a host of different subjects.

“We partner with different organizations that come out and present talks on an array of topics, such as MD Anderson, Legacy, Memorial Hermann, Texas A&M Agrilife, and others,” Kratochvil said.

San Jacinto and Lone Star College also offer associate degrees, professional development, and classes for those continuing to work t o strengthen their skill set.

Lone Star College’s Academy for Lifelong Learning (ALL) program is offered on its six campuses in and around Houston.

“All of our six campuses have an Open House twice a year for the general public to come out and meet the instructors, visit with fellow ALL members, pick up a new catalog, get parking permits, and register for membership and classes in one spot,” said Pamela J. Gardner, M.Ed., program manager, Academy for Lifelong Learning, Lone Star College North Harris Campus. The ALL membership community enriches the lives of senior adults by providing stimulating classes, seminars, social activities, skills development and opportunities for personal growth. ALL memberships exist at each Lone Star College campus and are available for an affordable annual fee.

No prior education is required, and no grades are given.

There are no tests or textbooks required. This is learning for the enjoyment of learning.

Membership includes free or low-cost lectures, workshops and seminars, day trips to local nature and historical sites, access to select college fitness centers, advance notice of art shows with artist receptions, discount pricing on plays, concert and musicals, 20 percent discount for those 60 and over on some community education courses, access to the college libraries and computer labs, and campus photo ID cards. Annual memberships start at $20, or you can join all six campus ALL programs, for $55.

Each of the six campuses offer different classes that are listed on the website http://www.lonestar.edu/ALL. Some of the classes include writing a novel, yoga, cooking, psychology lectures, computer classes, financial seminars, knitting, Texas history, health and wellness, and others.

So, instead of waiting for those nights when there is nothing on your calendar, check out the community college calendars and sign up for a class are two, as many are starting soon.