Having a hobby is something that benefits people of all ages, but for older people, it becomes a vital part of their overall health and well-being. Aside from giving older adults a sense of purpose, hobbies help pass the time and unwind.
Staying physically and mentally healthy becomes more and more difficult as you age. As you get older, you have more time on your hands than at any other time in your life other than being a little kid. Hobbies help keep your mind and body active.
Not all hobbies are physical or physically challenging. Recreational activities, if your health allows, are one way to enjoy an activity and stay active.
Jeremy Barron, M.D., the past medical director of the Beacham Center for Geriatric Medicine at Johns Hopkins, says that leisure activities, particularly group activities, are a vital part of keeping adults healthy in mind and body.
John Hopkins researchers say that those who participated in a variety of activities experienced an 8 to 11 percent reduction in the risk of verbal memory impairment. The risk of dementia increases as one gets older.
"There has been a question of whether we can prevent cognitive decline and dementia by engaging in social activities that aren't necessarily cognitive. "This research showed that social activities improved cognitive reserves even if they didn't tax the mind."
Dr. Jeremy Barron
Fill Spare Time
Since getting older means most people will have a lot more spare time, it often leads to people sitting in their chairs more, staring at their TVs or phones. There's nothing wrong with these hobbies, but they are not as stimulating and enriching as some other things you can do.
Here are some beneficial hobbies you should encourage older family members to consider, or if you are older, you should consider yourself.
Get Out in the Garden
Gardening is an excellent hobby that you should begin at any point in your life, but it's also especially good for seniors. It's great for multiple reasons, and one of them is that it gets you on your feet and out into the dirt and sun.
The sun provides a lot of essential vitamin D that people need, and digging around in the dirt stirs up many microbes, stimulating serotonin production in the brain. Additionally, at the end of all your hard work in the garden, you reward yourself with some healthy and delicious fruits and veggies that are great for your diet.
This activity is harder to start as you age, but it is a great way to maintain senior activity. Yoga is a great form of exercise that is suited to your capabilities. If you cannot do the complicated poses, you don't need to—all you need to do is engage in some poses that work for you. Then, slowly but surely, you will develop a greater sense of balance and strength in essential parts of your body. Yoga is fantastic for developing and practicing this balance, but it will also help your overall health, lowering blood pressure, building muscle, and burning fat.
Play Some Video Games
Video games may seem like an activity only reserved for young people, but it has numerous benefits for people of all ages. It can be harder to get into as you are older, but there are various games where you set your own pace, and then you can explore worlds, investigate mysteries, and solve puzzles without feeling rushed. A lot of these games provide mental stimulation and can lead to a sense of enrichment as you solve tasks and see your hard work be rewarded.
Get Into the Kitchen
Cooking is another fantastic hobby to get you out of your chair and on your feet. Cooking is also a fun hobby because there is so much room to experiment with and customize everything to fit your preferences. This culinary hobby comes in many forms, so you can craft stunning meals for friends and family or bake different breads and sweets.
Swimming is something many people can do even if they are over 50. When you are in the pool swimming, it gets your body to move around with less stress than a land-based activity - so it is easier on your joints. Swimming is a great hobby that is beneficial for your heart, improves flexibility, improves your muscle strength, and even benefits your mental health.
Swimming can also reduce the risk of osteoporosis, improves your stability, and reduces the risk of falls.
Walking is also beneficial in many of the same ways, although be careful if you are prone to balance problems and falls.
If you like to walk and know how to play golf, golf can be a great hobby. Walking the golf course and the excitement of competition might lower the risk of early death among older adults, according to research.
There are so many hobbies to consider depending on your interests and abilities. Whether you are playing cards with friends, fishing, arts and crafts, volunteering at a hospital, or even podcasting, being active is fun and beneficial.
These worthwhile hobbies are great for anyone, but they are fantastic for seniors who need to start caring more for their physical and mental health. Of course, any of these is wonderful, but whether you are beginning yoga or playing a video game, remember to spice things up and try out multiple hobbies. You'll never know that you love doing something unless you try it.
About the Author
Mallory Knee is a freelance writer for multiple online publications where she can showcase her affinity for all things beauty and fashion. She particularly enjoys writing for communities of passionate women who come together for a shared interest and empower one another in the process. In her free time, you can find Mallory trying a fun new dinner recipe, practicing calligraphy, or hanging out with her family.
Contributor since September 25th, 2020
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