Lifelong learning should be one of our daily goals, particularly for those of us who are near or at the point of retirement. We need to learn new things daily, not weekly or monthly. Having fostered a hobby such as travel, exercise, or antique collecting ahead of retirement, for example, is of course great. There is no doubt one can always learn something new from these hobbies. Nevertheless, I believe one should take much more serious and vigorous steps into real learning in terms of stimulating intellectual functions at older age.
Hobby is good to kill time; not as proactive in learning process. Beside, some hobbies are only for a short or limited terms. Travel, for instance, can be expensive and exhausting. One could travel a few times per year, each time a few days or weeks. Traveling everyday is just not practical. Exercise, another popular hobby for seniors, is important and should be practiced regularly for the benefit of physical well being. Yet, it is mainly beneficial in bodily gain. Exercise does not increase our intellectual property. (If it does, it is not enough). To keep our aging body going, mental health is more important than physical fitness. (I am saying this because I am too lazy to exercise regularly; my weakness!)
Reading is the best and easiest method to keep our brain going. By reading either the subjects one always enjoyed or brand new subjects, one can still learn new things in golden age. I strongly suggest reading totally foreign subjects rather than familiar topics. Reading on something one already knew is fine, yet better exploring onto the untouched territories. For instance, I like music, I could continue to read about composers or music theories and would enjoy the reading process enormously; however, I should also try books in archeology or social media technology which I had little background. Reading brand new subject books can be challenging since most of the concept are new. The joy of knowing that old dog can learn new tricks, nevertheless will comprise the difficulty of reading new knowledge.
I must make it clear here that there is no need for us now to pursue professional level of accomplishment in new field. I do not expect I can read medical books & become a physician nor can I practice law while reading legal material. There is no need to focus on a new field too long or too deep. Instead I merely want to broaden my viewpoints as much as the time permits. I will Move to another subject as soon as I pick up enough general knowledge about one new discipline.
Keep our mind opened is the best way to enlighten our path of remaining years. Physically there is no way we can stop the process of deterioration. Each and everyday, our back will slump more, our vision get blurrier, and knees weaker. To counter battling with our body's fall, use mind as the weapon. Do it constantly, read something today, learn at least one thing every day.