Baby boomers have adopted attitudes and lifestyles unlike any previous generation. The 78 million diverse Americans born between 1946 and 1964 enjoy a variety of activities, ranging from aerobics and workouts to quality time with their favorite rock 'n' roll albums [source: U.S. Government Accountability Office].
But there's more to the generation that refused to trust anyone over 30. For starters, aging baby boomers are unlikely to settle for your typical bingo night [source: Cochran et al.]. In fact, experts predict the group to redefine expectations of retirement and aging [source: Harvard School of Public Health/MetLife Foundation].
As we'll learn, baby boomers might do things differently to accommodate their needs, but that doesn't mean they don't cooperate or act flexible at work and home. Though many individuals care for their own aging parents and children, boomers still find time to partake in their favorite activities.
So which pastimes appeal to the generation of bell bottoms and Beatlemania? What are popular baby boomer activities?
First, we'll look at how boomers stay active, sometimes to the detriment of their bodies.
Hitting the gym and playing sports are popular among baby boomers. These individuals focus on feeling healthy and young while also combating obesity and other health-related problems.
Boomers participate in a mix of solitary and group activities such as tennis, golf, jogging, walking and aerobic exercise, to name a few. Because baby boomers were the first to be targeted by health advertisers on TV, it's not surprising that they take their well-being seriously.
But the generation is also known to take exercise to the extreme. Coined "Boomeritis," many active boomers are breaking their aging bodies by overdoing it [source: Marchione]. As a result, hip and knee replacements are on the rise for individuals between the ages of 40 and 60, but doctors are unsure of whether the procedures will withstand boomers' active lifestyles.
Boomers embrace moving around in the job market -- even when they reach retirement age. Learn about another popular trend on the next page.
Reaching 65 years of age is an exciting time for those easing into retirement. But for baby boomers, such a vision won't cut it, as many plan to continue working well after 65. Of the group staying in the work force, two-thirds plan to make a career change [source: Merrill Lynch].
Activities surrounding switching career paths or trying something new are likely to become more popular as baby boomers age. According to one industry survey, baby boomers reported wanting to switch to professions such as consulting and teaching, where they can use their experiences to help and guide others [source: Merrill Lynch]. Some even reported wanting to be tour guides, leading leisurely trips through tourist spots.
Boomers are also testing the waters of the entrepreneurial world, as many have expressed interest in creating new businesses or independent work.
Overall, though, it's unclear whether businesses are ready for boomers to shift between fields. Usually, people close to retirement age ease into retirement. But because boomers want to switch to different professions they may not have experience in, they will compete with younger generations for jobs -- a choice that might catch businesses and boomers off guard.
If you think boomers called it quits after Woodstock, you're sadly mistaken. Rock 'n' roll over to the following page for more.
How could the generation that attended Woodstock and coined the term rock 'n' roll ever fall out of music's sweet embrace?
Boomers still wax nostalgic about their concert-going past and enjoy listening to good tunes, particularly if they're performed live. Groups such as the Rolling Stones -- and even U2, a multigenerational favorite made up of boomers themselves -- have the highest-grossing tours, even today [source: Waddell]. It turns out boomers are not only able to reminisce about their favorite music, but they're also catered to as a profitable demographic.
Baby boomers also accounted for more than 25 percent of music sales in 2006 [source: Glaister]. One quarter to 40 percent of baby boomers own an iPod or MP3 player, suggesting they still constitute a reasonable size of the music market in recent years [source: Zickuhr].
Baby boomers' sense of adventure doesn't fade with age. Would you dare try some of these popular baby boomer activities on the next page?
When compared to their parents, baby boomers would rather take a shot at sky-diving than remain grounded. There's evidence that individuals from this generation want more adventure in their lives and are more likely than their parents to participate in competitive sports [source: Sperazza & Banerjee].
But some boomers take it one step further.
Among the demographic, extreme sports such as rafting, skydiving and paragliding commonly frequent boomers' itineraries. One source states that more than 60 percent of boomers want to be involved in extreme sports, regardless of their age [source: Cochran et al.]. With all of these outdoor plans, it's no wonder many boomers feel younger than they actually are.
Boomers also carry their adventurous attitudes with them on vacation, particularly for households with kids under age 18. But they also find ways to make trips active and educational. Even though boomers are risk-takers, safety is still a huge priority for them [source: AARP]. White water rafting with a guide? Yes. Skydiving with an unlicensed guide? Certainly not.
With the majority of boomers hoping to remain in their homes with family nearby, opportunities to deepen their connections to local communities abound. Though many baby boomers say they want to volunteer more, especially after reaching retirement age, actually doing it is another matter [source: Harvard School of Public Health/MetLife Foundation].
According to experts, an individual's activities volunteering peak mid-life, not during retirement, meaning that boomers who aren't already volunteering are unlikely to increase their activities. So far, boomers lack a track record as stellar as their parents, a group called the "greatest generation" because of its civic involvement.
So while volunteering is projected to be popular among boomers by boomers themselves, experts are unsure whether boomers keep their word about wanting to give more time to local causes [source: Harvard School of Public Health/MetLife Foundation]. But based on their tenacity, boomers might defy this preconceived notion as well.
Despite staying active, boomers have preferences for how they spend their down time. Hint: Water's a boomer favorite.
Who wouldn't want to relax by the beach?
Hanging out near the coast is a popular pastime for all ages, but boomers are especially vulnerable to aquatic scenes' relaxing repose [source: Sperazza & Banerjee]. Baby boomers' desire to be near the water results in their most popular outings to include rafting, cruises and water sports at the ocean, lakes and rivers.
Above all, boomers want to unwind, and coastal communities often create relaxing atmospheres perfect for their needs. This penchant for aquatic areas may explain why many boomers reside in California, New York and Florida -- states with highly desirable waterfronts [source: Census.gov].
Hitched or divorced, baby boomers are also keeping the romance alive. Head over to the following page to read how this demographic has returned to dating.
Even though the majority of boomers are still married, the group has the highest divorce rates among all age groups, leaving many candidates looking for love [source: Census.gov]. One source states that 35 percent of boomers are rebounding from a divorce [source: Schlesinger].
Considering these facts, dating has reclaimed popularity among baby boomers. The group's post-marriage dating activities differ from what was forbidden for previous generations, which makes the trend all the more appealing.
The advent of advanced communication, including the Internet, brings dating to boomers' fingertips. In contrast to searching for love interests locally, conducting extensive searches for that perfect someone is now an easy option.
As boomers continue grow older, one thing's for sure: They're focused on their personal surroundings and preferences. Read about how home improvement and DIY projects draw boomers next.
Home Improvement and DIY
Baby boomers' independence and innovation leads them to activities to do on their own.
This is why home improvement projects and do-it-yourself endeavors are popular among the group. Improving quality of home makes sense for boomers looking to stick with their current residence as they age.
Home improvement activities make sense for boomers who want to downsize as well, as smaller living spaces could lead to higher quality decorative touches. In addition, boomers are set on being self-sufficient. Gardening, canning and crafting handmade products such as clothing and furniture are a few thrifty activities boomers do well. Ultimately, staying physically and mentally active and carrying on family traditions matter.
As we've discussed, boomers aren't afraid to learn new things. But have they been able to cope with the technological revolution of today's digital age? Read on to find out.
Generally speaking, boomers take pleasure in learning about new technology. But there's a catch: They're biased toward tech that carries out their needs.
They also explore unfamiliar technology better in comparison to their parents. About half of boomers are comfortable using the Internet, while only 20 percent of people 57 and older use it confidently [source: Harvard School of Public Health/MetLife Foundation]. The majority of boomers own a cell phone and desktop computer, but fewer may purchase the newest gadgets [source: Zickuhr].
Boomers are fans of using technology to reconnect with old friends and acquaintances of years' past. Social media Web sites such as Facebook prove particularly useful to maintain and make new friends. Boomers are also more adventurous in dating online when compared to their older counterparts.
Last, we'll gain a glimpse of popular ways baby boomers maintain spiritual and social balance in life.
Spiritual and Social Experiences
Though their approaches in life may vary, most boomers strive to participate in activities spiritually and socially meaningful.
Maintaining a level of solidarity and friendship is a balance everyone must strike, but boomers are more adamant about doing certain things alone or within small social groups of close family and friends [source: Sperazza, Banerjee ]. The generation has endured much social and political uncertainty over the years, and most boomers find relaxing with friends and family to be the key to happiness.
In contrast to their parents and perhaps even younger generations, baby boomers prefer more public, face-to-face outings, which is why socials, art galleries, sporting events and cultural experiences are so popular among the group. Interacting with people in public rather than staying at home comes natural to this outgoing generation. Also, surveys have found that baby boomers plan on taking advantage of living in communities tailored to their generation [source: MetLife]. Time will tell if the majority of boomers will follow suit. Some won't because of their need to maintain independence, while others may seek closer quarters with their fellow boomers.
Click to the next page for more interesting tidbits about the baby boomer generation.
Baby boomers should get weight-bearing exercise to improve bone health and balance. See the top five reasons for baby boomers to get weight-bearing exercise.
- AARP. "The Sky's the Limit: Travel Trends Among the Baby Boomer Generation and Beyond." June 2007. (June 1, 2011). http://www.aarp.org/travel/trips/info-2007/travel_trends.html
- Census.gov. "Selected Characteristics of Baby Boomers 42 to 60 Years Old in 2006." 2006. (June 1, 2011). http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/age/2006%20Baby%20Boomers.pdf
- Cochran, Lynda, Anne Marie Rothschadl and Jodi Rudick. "Leisure Programming for Baby Boomers." Human Kinetics. 2009.
- Glaister, Dan. "Age No Bar as Baby Boomers Rock the Music Industry." Nov. 28, 2006. (June 1, 2011). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/nov/28/usa.musicnews
- Harvard School of Public Health & MetLife Foundation. "Reinventing Aging: Baby Boomers and Civic Engagement." 2004. (June 1, 2011). http://diseaseriskindex.harvard.edu/chc/reinventingaging/press/charleston.html
- Marchione, Marilynn. "Baby Boomers Fueling Boom in Knee, Hip Surgeries." Associated Press/TIME. May 25, 2011. (June 1, 2011). http://healthland.time.com/2011/05/25/baby-boomers-fueling-boom-in-knee-hip-surgeries/
- Merrill Lynch. "The 2006 Merrill Lynch New Retirement Study: A Perspective from Individuals and Employers." 2006. (June 1, 2011). http://www.ml.com/media/66482.pdf
- MetLife. "New Housing Trends Report: Most Baby Boomers Prefer to Age in Place, but Growing Numbers Head to Age-Restricted Communities, Say NAHB and MetLife Mature Market Institute." April 28, 2009. (June 10, 2011). http://www.metlife.com/assets/cao/mmi/publications/mmi-pressroom/mmi-press-releases-housing-trends.pdf
- Schlesinger, Richard. "Why are so Many Baby Boomers Divorced?" CBSNews.com. Dec. 14, 2010. (June 1, 2011). http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/14/eveningnews/main7150115.shtml
- Sperazza, Lynda and Priya Banerjee. "Baby Boomers and Seniors: Understanding Their Leisure Values Enhances Programs." Activities, Adaptation, and Aging. 34, 3. 196-215. (June 2, 2011). http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a926809388~db=all~jumptype=rss
- Wadell, Ray. "U2 to Snatch 'Biggest Tour Ever' Title This Weekend." Billboard.com. April 8, 2011. (June 1, 2011). http://www.billboard.com/events/u2-to-snatch-biggest-tour-ever-title-this-1005122352.story#/events/u2-to-snatch-biggest-tour-ever-title-this-1005122352.story
- Zickuhr, Kathryn. "Generations and Gadgets." Pew Research Center. Feb. 3, 2011. (June 10, 2011). http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1879/gadgets-generations-cell-phones-laptops-desktop-computer