Why hobbies are good for you

Why hobbies are good for everyone

Hobbies include the activities people do for fun or relaxation. Everyone needs an escape from their usual daily occupation, work or boredom. Hobbies fill this space. They range from sport and exercise, craft, art and puzzles to developing new skills in any field that interests us. A hobby or two or more provide the changes in pace and satisfaction we all need to live fulfilled lives.

I got thinking about this when a king cold virus flattened me recently. It took another two weeks before I recovered fully. Some of my favourite hobbies, like swimming, walking and socialising with friends and family, for example, became impossible. I didn’t write a blog post.

I slept a lot and read a couple of good books but by the second week became bored and stressed.  Time to turn to other hobbies like the Boro bag I started a while ago and the shawl I’m crocheting. Here’s a link to my post about craft and the joy of making things. While I knew hobbies were good for me, I hadn’t thought why. 

start of new hobbies

Some of the benefits of hobbies

Anything we do that makes us feel better about ourselves also benefits our mental and often our physical health. Here are some of the benefits of hobbies.

Physical benefits

  • Hobbies help us relax. Lower stress levels promote better health.  Relaxation lowers heart rate and blood pressure as well as muscle tension. It can reduce anger and even chronic pain.
  • Hobbies which include physical activity create chemical changes in our bodies that further reduce stress.
  • Doing an activity we enjoy distracts us from our work and worries as we become absorbed in something we like doing. We unwind.

Personal growth

  • Finding a hobby you enjoy  leads to increased skills. As we learn about a subject and practise new skills, our abilities increase in all areas of our lives.
  • As we become better at what we do, our confidence increases. Although it might take a while to excel at a new pastime, the learning journey can be rewarding. This also helps our confidence.

Mental health

  • Research tells us that, ‘People with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood and depression.’ Read more about this on Lifeline 24.
  • Enjoying a hobby for a few hours each week can reduce the risk of anxiety and depression, and maybe also, dementia. Health authorities urge older people to keep their minds active with puzzles, learning a new skill, making music and keeping active.
  • Hobbies which include mixing with other people prevent loneliness and isolation, major factors in mental illness. Authorities tell us loneliness could be the next big health threat, especially for seniors.

Improved social life

  • Team sports, craft groups, book clubs, singing in a choir… the list of possible shared hobbies goes on. When people share a hobby, their lives become richer and everything becomes easier.
  • Being interested and involved in any hobby gives us something different to talk about with our friends and acquaintances.

Increase creativity

  • Creative hobbies increase personal creativity, not simply in the focus area but across the whole of life.
  • Creative activities and new skills help neural connections in the brain to expand and also to the release ‘feel-good’ hormones.

New pastimes at any age

We are never too old or too frail to begin a new pastime and there are hundreds to choose from.  The rewards are enormous. If you do not already have a satisfying hobby, what are you waiting for?

 

Join the Conversation

15 Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about your wretched cold, sounds as though it was debilitating. I hope you are back to your usual self very soon.

    I just read a post from an older lady (in England) a retired teacher who writes the occasional children’s book. Her dog died a few months ago and she and her husband are having problems finding a replacement from a rescue centre because of their age. She sounded quite depressed and I couldn’t help thinking that the dog was not the real reason for her depression.

    It sounded to me as though she needed a reason to get out of bed every morning. I suggested she set herself a daily challenge.Then I regretted not sounding more sympathetic.

    https://juliecroundblog.wordpress.com/2021/10/24/feeling-down/

    1. Thanks, Sue. It has taken weeks to recover from my cold and the post-viral misery, made worse because I couldn’t swim, didn’t feel like walking, didn’t go to the gym. The lack of exercise made my arthritis flare. A total bundle of misery, and I neglected my blog, friends, etc.

      John and I went to my daughter’s house in the bush for a week to recuperate. Fortunately, now home again, I’m more energetic and enthusiastic. And I swam 1000 metres yesterday. Heaven.

      Depression is a strange phenomenon. I read Julie’s post, and felt her misery. Maybe she just needs to sit with her pain a bit longer?

      1. I’m so glad you’re feeling a lot better. Oh, my goodness 1000 metres – you deserve a medal!

        You’re probably right about Julie.

        I must thank you again for pointing me in the direction of Canva. I’ve been using the backgrounds to create the header images on my recent posts. I used their site to edit out bits I didn’t want and then after downloading I resized and added my own images and touches. the combination is working well for me. I can’t think why I never used it before, I suppose I didn’t realise how much it had to offer. Very grateful, thank you.

        1. Hi, Sue. Yes, I’m much better now. Almost 100%. I don’t know how you cope with long COVID. Such a horrible disease.

          Glad you are still enjoying Canva. You seem to have found lots more applications that I didn’t know were there. I use it all the time. I like the way it helps shape a ‘brand’ with my colours, fonts and stuff. And I use it always to resize my photos quickly and easily. I must look more deeply into it. If I ever get time!

          1. Yes, I love Canva and I’m delighted you told me about it. I used it on the Red Poppy Blog post but the poppy was my own addition. I haven’t explored all it has to offer but like you, when I have more time I will.

            I’m glad you’re feeling better, like you said, illness is so debilitating.
            Thank you, Maureen xx

            1. You will do amazing things with Canva,Sue. Your computer skills are much greater than mine. xx

  2. Oh, by the way. I went to Canva and made myself a background for an announcement.

    I enjoyed playing around on the site. Paint.net doesn’t have templates so I normally create things myself. I’ll certainly go back to Canva for backgrounds and I shall use it on Wednesday. Thank you for telling me about it.

    1. Glad you enjoyed Canva, Sue. Sorry I’ve been out of circulation for a while. Back now, feeling more energetic and blog-minded.

  3. As always dearest Maureen, a fabulous reminder of the wide range of benefits we can receive from hobbies.

  4. You are so right Maureen Helen and you have explained it superbly. I know you have a lot of hobbies and I think that might be why you are so resilient and have been able to pick your self up, brush yourself off and start all over again, in times of trouble. That of course, brings to my mind a couple of songs and enjoying live music is one of my favourite hobbies and if dancing is involved, it’s even better.
    Have a good time away Maureen and we will look forward to reading further Blogs from you in the future.

    1. Thank you, Tricia. Yes, songs and enjoying music and dance are very special pastimes and hobbies, but even more than hobbies. Thank you for your kind wishes for our little break in the bush. It was wonderful. Home now, feeling refreshed.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: