12 ways retirees spend their newfound free time

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Creating A Plan for Retirement

Relaxing in retirement.

Retirees enjoy seven to eight hours of leisure time per day, according to 2015 data from the American Time Use Survey. They use their newfound free time in a variety of ways, including taking up new hobbies, relaxing at home and lingering over daily activities. Here's how American retirees are spending their days.

Sleep

Those who have spent several decades working have earned the right to some extra sleep. The oldest and youngest among us have the most time for sleep and other personal care activities. People over age 74 and below age 25 spend over 10 hours per day sleeping, bathing and dressing. The rest of the population gets slightly less sleep.

Watching TV

Tuning in is the most popular leisure activity for retirees. People ages 65 to 74 watch an average of nearly four hours of TV each day, compared to about 2.5 hours among the total population age 15 and older, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Seniors age 75 and older watch the most TV of any age group, clocking in an average of 4 hours and 20 minutes of screen time daily.

Home maintenance

Many retirees are interested in improving their homes, and those between ages 65 to 74 years spend nearly 2.5 hours per day doing so, the most of any age group. Older people spend an average of 37 minutes more per day on household maintenance than young people, engaging in activities including lawn and garden care, home repairs and improvements, cooking and housework.

Discover the average retirement age in every state:

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Average retirement age in every state

Alabama - Age 62

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Alaska - Age 65

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Arizona - Age 63

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Arkansas - Age 62

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California - Age 64

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Colorado - Age 64

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Delaware - Age 62

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Connecticut - Age 64

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Florida - Age 63

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Georgia - Age 62

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Hawaii - Age 63

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Idaho - Age 63

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Illinois - Age 63

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Indiana - Age 63

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Iowa - Age 64

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Kansas - Age 65

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Kentucky - Age 62

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Louisiana - Age 63

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Maine - Age 64

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Maryland - Age 64

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Massachusetts - Age 64

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Michigan - Age 62

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Minnesota - Age 63

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Mississippi - Age 63

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Missouri - Age 63

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Montana - Age 63

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Nebraska - Age 65

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Nevada - Age 63

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New Hampshire - Age 65

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New Jersey - Age 65

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New Mexico - Age 63

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New York - Age 64

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North Carolina - Age 63

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North Dakota - Age 63

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Ohio - Age 63

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Oklahoma - Age 63

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Oregon - Age 63

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Pennsylvania - Age 63

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Rhode Island - Age 64

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South Carolina - Age 62

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South Dakota - Age 63

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Tennessee - Age 63

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Texas - Age 64

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Utah - Age 65

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Vermont - Age 65

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Virginia - Age 63

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Washington - Age 64

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West Virginia - Age 62

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Wisconsin - Age 63

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Wyoming - Age 65

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Working

Many people continue to work after age 65. Those ages 65 to 74 spend an average of an hour and 22 minutes each day working for pay. Side projects that generate income are included in this estimate, including selling homemade crafts, babysitting, maintaining a rental property or having a yard sale. But most older people eventually stop working, and the time spent earning money tapers off for seniors age 75 and older.

Meals

Retirees don't need to rush through breakfast while heading out the door to work. Those who no longer need to work long hours have plenty of time to seek out healthy meals or meet up with friends for lunch. Retirees spend an hour and 21 minutes each day eating and drinking each day, lingering an average of 10 minutes longer than the overall population.

Shopping

Retirees have the time to comparison shop and go to several stores to get the best deal. And for those on a fixed income, finding necessities at an affordable price is increasingly important. People between ages 65 and 74 spend nearly an hour per day shopping in person, on the phone and online, compared to three-quarters of an hour among all Americans.

Volunteering

Retirees spend an average of a little over a half-hour volunteering each day or engaged in other civic or religious activities, significantly longer than the third of an hour the overall population spends helping others. This estimate includes time spent volunteering for an organization, attending religious or spiritual services and participating in government processes such as voting, town hall meetings and jury duty.

Reading

Older people spend more time reading than their younger counterparts. People between ages 65 and 74 spend about 38 minutes per day turning pages, and those 75 and older tuck into a book for nearly an hour each day, compared to a third of an hour for the entire population.

Surfing the internet

Many older people are now comfortable using the internet, with the oldest retirees spending a half-hour per day on their computer. Retirees now spend a few minutes longer than the overall population using a computer for entertainment and leisure.

Socializing

Older people spend about a half-hour per day interacting with friends and neighbors, which is about the same amount of time as young people. This includes face-to-face social interactions as well as hosting or attending social functions.

Relaxing

Retirees are fortunate enough to spend more time relaxing and thinking than any other age group. People age 75 and older spend about 40 minutes each day relaxing, compared to just 17 minutes for all Americans.

Exercising

Retirees have few excuses not to exercise. And, indeed, there seems to be a modest increase in time spent exercising when people retire, from 16 minutes among those age 55 to 64 to 19 minutes for seniors age 65 to 74. But time spent exercising drops back down to an average of 13 minutes for those 75 and older.

Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

RELATED: See the best states for retirement in 2016:

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Best states for retirement
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Best states for retirement

1. South Dakota

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2. Iowa

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3. Minnesota

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4. Alaska 

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5. Oregon 

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6. Colorado

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7. Hawaii 

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8. South Carolina

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9. Nebraska

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10. Wisconsin

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