This article was updated October 10, 2018.
Incorporating healthy hobbies into your daily life is incredibly important. Healthy hobbies ward off depression, relieve stress, and exercise your brain. Staying mentally active and engaged can also delay the onset of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Benefits of healthy hobbies
Healthy hobbies can benefit you physically, mentally, and emotionally. By the age of 60, one in eight adults suffer from some degree of memory loss, but having a healthy hobby can help improve memory and cognitive function.
When you learn a new skill or engage in something mentally challenging, you’re strengthening your synaptic connections and encouraging new pathways to be formed in your brain, also called neuroplasticity. If you don’t engage your brain in new and exciting ways regularly, you could lose brain power.
Brain-boosting healthy hobbies
A healthy hobby can be anything from exercising, to learning a musical instrument, to joining a book club. What’s important is that you choose a hobby that requires concentration and mental effort. You reap the most mental benefits from a hobby when it’s new and you’re making new synaptic connections, so continue trying new things once you’ve mastered a hobby. Here are some healthy hobbies you can choose from.
Get some exercise
Exercising regularly protects you against heart disease and diabetes, boosts your creativity, and even helps alleviate symptoms of depression. Just going for a short walk after dinner can improve blood circulation, boost your mood, and lower your blood sugar. The more you move your body, the more nutrients, blood, and oxygen move through your body.
Other exercises are:
- Pickle ball
- Bike riding
- Stair climbing
Play a game
Games are an excellent way to improve your memory and boost your brain power. You can play video games or do a few Sudoku puzzles before bed, but remember: your game should challenge you. Once you master a game, you start losing some of the brain-boosting effects.
Other games are:
- Word searches
- Crossword puzzles
- Jigsaw puzzles
If none of these games appeal to you, browse your app store on your smartphone and see if anything catches your attention.
Learn a new language
Learning a new language can develop the part of your brain that controls reasoning, planning, and memory. Learning a new language can improve your cognition, memory, and enrich your social life. Even better, developing this skill can open the door to traveling, which is also shown to reduce stress and engage you mentally and physically.
Play an instrument
Playing music improves language, math, and analytical skills. Learning new music can also boost your creativity levels, improve your motor skills, and increase your memory. Playing an instrument changes the shape and power of your brain and improves your cognitive skills. It can also sharpen your concentration and enhance your coordination.
Practice an art or craft
Arts and crafts can help alleviate boredom and keep your mind busy. They can help with depression and improve your hand-eye coordination, cognitive abilities, and concentration. Practicing an art or craft can also lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Healthy hobbies are good for your body, mind, and soul. Take some time out of your day to develop a new hobby and enrich your life.