5 Simple Hobbies to Get Started With and Their Health Benefits
A hobby is something that you choose to do during your free time. These leisure activities that you do outside of your usual obligations come in different forms. They can be creative, physical, or purely relaxing activities. More than just a passive way to pass time, participating in hobbies encourages high levels of engagement and acquiring skills and knowledge.
Having a hobby can improve your physical and mental health. These activities can help bring meaning, joy, and purpose in your life. If you’re looking for something new to do that will also make you healthier, here’s a list of great hobbies that you can get started with:
Putting your thoughts and feelings into words through writing has been linked to a number of physical and mental health benefits. Writing can add organization and structure to your experiences. This can be a great activity for self-expression and will help you process your thoughts, feelings, and life events — including diagnosis for an illness.
The positive effects of writing on your health include improvements in memory, quality of sleep, and social life. Writing can help people who have experienced trauma or are diagnosed with a terminal illness better cope with their experiences. Perhaps the most surprising effect of writing is that it can help wounds heal faster.
Expressive writing can be done using traditional pen and paper. Or you can choose to use technology and type things on your phone or computer.
Dancing combines the benefits of two powerful health-promoting activities: exercise and listening to music.
Dancing is an easy and accessible form of cardiovascular exercise. It does not need a lot of equipment; all you need are some tunes to dance to. Dancing is also a low-impact form of physical exercise. You are in full control of the intensity of this workout. It improves cardiovascular strength, increases physical stamina, and strengthens the muscles.
Coupled with the powerful effect that music has on the mind, dancing also helps lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Knitting is not just for grandmas anymore. More and more women, men, and schoolchildren are picking up their yarns and needles. Even just in the past few years, multiple studies have reported the numerous benefits of knitting to physical and mental health.
The needlework in knitting requires repetitive action. This can actually put you in a relaxed state similar to what can be achieved through meditation and yoga. Knitting can help relieve your stress and lift your mood.
The health benefits of knitting don’t stop there. Knitting has also been shown to help with more serious physical and mental health problems. People who regularly knit have shown a slower onset of dementia and a better ability to cope with depression. Knitting also helps people suffering from chronic pain because the mental focus required distracts them from the pain and shifts their focus.
Craft activities like knitting result in actual products that you can hold and use. Being able to create a scarf, a blanket, or any other knitted product further enhances self-esteem.
Knitting is one of the easiest craft activities to get started on. Essential tools and guides for beginning knitters are readily available. If you want to try something a bit different, you can pick up the best knitting machine for beginners and try your hand at machine knitting instead. You might not experience needlework with machine knitting but following the intricate patterns and instructions will still provide you with the health benefits.
Gardening provides a wide range of positive health outcomes. The most obvious benefit of maintaining your own garden is that you always have fresh produce to use for a healthier diet. Most people might not think of gardening as a form of exercise but it actually increases physical activity levels. Gardening is linked to reduced body mass index.
Gardening increases a person’s quality of life. Simply being outdoors in green spaces is good for you. Green spaces have what is called “restorative properties” — properties that help restore a person’s health and wellbeing. Gardening causes a decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms.
Community gardens are also becoming more and more available. Being engaged in community gardening provides social opportunities and promotes a sense of belonging.
Volunteering is easily the best hobby to have. Serving and helping other people remains to be the most effective way for us to feel better about ourselves and about life in general. Voluntary service for good causes improves stress management, social interaction, and encourages healthy lifestyles and practices.
Volunteering provides additional benefits to the youth. Adolescents and young adults who volunteer in their local community are less likely to develop problem behavior. According to a study conducted over many years, youth with volunteer experience are less likely to use drugs, skip school, or get arrested. Volunteering also encourages the youth to learn new skills and continues to benefit them long after the volunteer act itself.
Older adults, especially those who have retired, can find new meaning and purpose in their lives by helping others. The benefits of volunteering on the aged include greater life satisfaction and increased longevity. Volunteering actually helps people live longer, happier lives!
Maybe you just found yourself with some extra time and you don’t know what to do with it. Or maybe you’re at a point in your life where you want to try something new and productive. Or maybe you’re actively looking for ways to get better and feel better. Whatever the reason, getting started on these great hobbies will surely bring added meaning, joy, and health into your life.