It is no secret that participating in an activity that brings you joy boosts your mental health, but how do hobbies help you AgeWell? A hobby is defined as: an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure. It is easy to get stuck on the what here- What hobbies will help me AgeWell? The fact is almost any hobby will positively impact your health in some way. Continue reading below for our top 5 ways that hobbies help you AgeWell.
Hobbies Help you AgeWell by Reducing Stress
Since hobbies are activities that you enjoy, it should be easy to see this correlation. Here is the science behind it though. When you actively engage in your hobby of choice neurotransmitters (or chemical messengers like dopamine) are released. Dopamine is a feel good chemical. With the release of dopamine, your stress levels are reduced. By taking the time out of your day to focus on an activity you enjoy even for a short period of time, you can reduce your overall stress load.
Hobbies Help you AgeWell by Improving Memory
There are a lot of hobbies that challenge our brains. While you may be thinking about the obvious ones like reading or crossword puzzles, how about learning about a new way to garden, or doing research on your next trip, or moving your body in new ways? According to this research, the risk for dementia decreased when participants spent an hour or more a day engaged in hobbies.
Hobbies Help you AgeWell By Boosting Your Immune System
Engaging in hobbies that are physically active can maintain control or prevent chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even some types of cancer. Because physical exercise also releases the “feel good” hormones this helps you to get better sleep and reduce stress which keeps your immune system strong.
Hobbies Help you AgeWell by Improving Your Self Worth
It does not matter if you enjoy a solitary or group hobby any hobby can improve your self worth! Even if your hobby is one you enjoy alone you can feel a sense of accomplishment when you have mastered a new skill, finished a project or just crossed an item off of your bucket list! In addition, enjoying a hobby that provides social interactions is also a great way to boost your self worth. For example working in service to others, or playing games with friends. When we are connected socially our mental health is better.
Hobbies Help you AgeWell by Improving Your Sleep!
We sleep better when we have moved our bodies or stretched our minds! According to Johns Hopkins, aerobic exercise increases the amount of “deep sleep” you get. Deep sleep is the part of sleep where your mind and body get a chance to rejuvenate. In addition, “Exercise can also help to stabilize your mood and decompress the mind, “a cognitive process that is important for naturally transitioning to sleep,” says Gamaldo.” Although, it isn’t just physical activity that improves your sleep. Other activities like reading, playing board games, knitting, woodworking all help your mind focus on the task at hand. Since you have to focus on your hobby your mind is able to decompress from the stress of daily life. By reducing your stress level your mind is able to fall into a deeper more reparative sleep.
The health benefits of pursuing a hobby are quite clear! Dr. Engberg and Kathy enjoy a variety of hobbies such as scuba diving, beekeeping, gardening, and fishing to name a few! Some “hobbies” that are not as beneficial to your health would be over consumption of TV or social media. On the contrary, studies show that scrolling on social media can have adverse effects on your health. At AgeWellMD our goal is to educate you in the Art of Aging Well™. We encourage you to get out there and enjoy your hobbies or explore a new one! If you don’t feel like you have the energy, call today to see if a hormonal imbalance is preventing you from living your life optimized.