Hobbies are an important part of one’s life, especially when you retire. They help you relax, learn new skills, and connect with like-minded individuals. In fact, according to one census people spend around five to six hours per day on leisure and sports activities, their personal interests/activities, and hobbies. During holidays and on weekends the amount of time spent on leisure activities is higher than on weekdays. This means we spend a good amount of time engaged in hobbies. And that is a great way to spend our time, especially as we age.
Hobbies, especially physical ones, can improve our physical and mental well-being. As reported by Aging Home Health Care, “Physical activity can help prevent or maintain control in some chronic illnesses such as: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and some types of cancer.” If you choose a physical hobby, you’re increasing your chances of living a healthier and more enjoyable life. In addition, hobbies like word searches, puzzles, connect the dots, and other mind games can enhance problem-solving skills. This is important because as we age our problems do not go away; they change in complexity.
Moreover, hobbies can reduce stress (great for lowering blood pressure), improve self-esteem (which can diminish with natural aging), and improve sleep (important for allowing our bodies to heal and recover from the day). Hobbies offer great benefits, which is why it is important to engage in them into our senior years.
Below are seven hobbies that have these benefits and more anyone can do!
Yes, this may seem cliché. The stereotype of seniors sitting around crocheting hats, scarves, and sweaters is ever-present. But this is with good reason. Crocheting is easy to learn and fun to do with other people, which makes it a social activity. You can get started with just a few pounds and by watching a short video. And it’s what you don’t see that makes crocheting so great. While hard at work making that new item, your brain is actively involved. You are using fine motor skills to move the needles and thread about. All of these things are great for improving your alertness, making you feel good, and staying connected with the world around you through small talk. Who knows, you may even decide to start a small business selling your goods and earn some fun money for the weekends!
Arts and Crafts
No, we’re not back in Primary School; you won’t be finger painting! Arts and crafts can include a wide variety of activities. From drawing to making Popsicle houses, let your imagination run free. Arts and crafts allow you to create something to express yourself, which can be therapeutic. This can also reduce your stress, which we know is good for our overall health. Plus, arts and crafts are plain fun. After finishing a project, you feel that sense of accomplishment that uses those feel-good chemicals in the brain. Imagine yourself benefiting from the positive effects of consistent involvement in arts and crafts: feeling less stressed, improved health, feeling good. Be a kid again and find that adult coloring book or arts and crafts class nearby and give it a go.
Yes, yoga! That goes for you men, too. Yoga is an excellent hobby to take up at any age. In your older years, yoga has tremendous benefits. This doesn’t mean you have to do yoga on a mat, either. Chair yoga is just as beneficial for those who cannot easily get on the floor. Yoga improves sleep, blood pressure, flexibility, and muscular strength and endurance, making this especially helpful for those suffering from an arthritic condition. Another potential benefit from yoga is relieving chronic pain. While yoga may not eliminate it, it can help with some pain reduction. So put on a video and give yoga a try!
Another cliché, we know! However, gardening does a number of things to help you stay vibrant as you age. First and foremost, it gets you out in the sun, which has vitamin D. This vitamin helps release serotonin, which is a feel-good chemical in the brain. If anything, garden to feel good. On top of that, gardening helps you stay active as you toil in the dirt. You can grow some great food that is healthy and that you incorporate into your meals. Moreover, gardening can stimulate an interest in nature and the outdoors, which can garner a connection to Mother Earth that is inexpiable yet special.
Swimming is great because it allows you to get exercise in an environment that is not hard on your joints. Plus, water activities tend to burn more calories than some land sports. Thus, the double benefit of less stress on your joints and burning more calories is great to keep you as healthy as a horse. Swimming gets you healthy by improving muscle tone, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. If you suffer from osteoporosis or other joint issues, you can get the physical and mental feel-good benefits of swimming or water classes without the worry about pain or discomfort on your body that may worsen your condition. Why not contact your local swimming pool for details on clubs for the over 65’s.
Walking is great for anyone, but it is especially great for seniors. Not only is it free, but you can do it anywhere! You can walk around a mall, senior center, path by a lake, or in a parking lot. Plus, you can do this with others, making it a social activity. Being social helps keep you connected to others and keep depression at bay. Plus, walking helps you to maintain mobility and independence, which is vital as you age. The Ramblers website has details of around 500 groups across the UK so there is bound to be one near you so you can get involved.
Caring for a Pet
Pets are a great hobby with a multitude of benefits. According to one expert, aside from keeping you company, pets produce, “a chemical chain reaction in the brain that helps to lower levels of the stress-inducing hormone, cortisol, and increase the production of the feel-good hormone, serotonin. In fact, pets have been shown to reduce blood pressure and stress levels in humans and can actually help lower cholesterol, fight depression, and help protect against heart conditions.” Pets pack a powerful punch for your well-being as a senior. If you cannot own one, many retirement or assisted-living centers have visiting pet programs. Plus, you can ask friends and family to let you visit theirs.
Other hobbies with similar benefits as those mentioned above are listed below.
● Visiting family and friends
● Playing card/board games
Having a hobby is an essential part of life. But as we age, it becomes an integral part of daily living. Hobbies not only fill gaps in time that may have previously been spent on work or doing other tasks, they also offer many health-related benefits. They can ease pain and joint issues. They help us socialise and connect. And they help improve our overall physical and mental health by making us feel good about ourselves. Forget the clichés that come with doing some of these hobbies. The benefits far outweigh any social stigma that can come with senior hobbies.
At Telecare24 we care about you as a senior and those caring for a loved one who is a senior. That is why we want to keep you informed on important topics surrounding senior living such as hobbies. Browse our plans page to see how we can help enhance the life of a senior and make sure any hobbies done in the home have safety in mind with our line of emergency alert and monitoring products.