Keeping active and having hobbies is important at any time of life but is particularly important as we grow older. Apart from being fun, hobbies and other interests, can be beneficial to physical and mental health as we age. The more time that we spend participating in activities that we enjoy is also believed to stave off some of the affects of ageing. Hobbies and sports also contribute to keeping us physically and mentally active, both important factors in staving off ill-health. Here are just some of the ways in which staying active can benefit us as we get older.
Let’s Stay Physical
Physical activity is incredibly important for good health at any time of life. As we age participating in some kind of regular, physical activity is crucial. While it doesn’t have to be quite as active as basket-ball or rugby, regular, gentle and consistent physical activity has several benefits. Apart from keeping us in good general health it can also help to combat a range of potential health issues, including heart disease and even some cancers. Physical exercise is also important in managing some common conditions, including arthritis and, alongside good nutrition, diabetes.
Learning for Life
Most hobbies involve some form of mental stimulation; from card games and crosswords to paper-craft and crochet! Spending time on hobbies that you enjoy will also encourage a positive state of mind. Creative hobbies in the arts and crafts help to build or strengthen a range of important skills, including hand-eye coordination (which can be a factor in managing good balance). Memory function is also enhanced by a whole range of hobbies; keeping an active mind is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing memory loss as we grow older and by taking up new hobbies which offer the chance to learn new skills, we increase the capacity of our brain. For those who are less physically active arts and craft hobbies can be ideal and it’s easy to buy craft supplies online (including everything from high quality paints, inks and even jewellery making supplies) and have them delivered to your home.
Whatever activity or hobby we choose, a significant benefit is likely to be stress reduction. Hobbies require focus and attention and can help us to take a break from our normal every-day worries, cares and routines. Breaking up those routines can be especially important for those who have lower activity levels and are less mobile. Stress not only contributes to heart disease but can also have a negative impact on our mood and sleep. Hobbies that reduce stress levels help to maintain a more positive outlook and give us a productive use for our time.
Independence Days and Senses of Self
Self-esteem can also be an issue that affects us as we get older. In retirement, with empty nests, it can be easy to feel at a loss, or even to feel that we have become a burden to others. A hobby that is creative and fun can be crucial in combating this type of negative emotion, can help us to feel useful and by learning new skills we can find that we have a productive outlet for our energies that creates a sense of worth. While many of us find that we are appreciated for our child-care availability at this point in our lives, having a hobby can also help to create a sense of self outside of the immediate family – and staying independent is high on the list for everyone as we age.
New Friends and Old
Hobbies can be useful ways to find new friends and stay socially active in life – this applies at any time of life. As we age, many of our friends seem to be doing the same and crossing names out of the address book becomes an all too common occurrence! Getting out regularly and meeting old and new friends is, however, a particularly important part of life as we get older. Social isolation affects both our physical and mental health and is one of the major challenges that many older people find hard to deal with. Finding and participating in hobby groups can make taking that step towards building new friendships considerably easier. Hobbies, by their very nature, often appeal to a wide group of people, from different backgrounds and from just about every different age. This makes hobby groups a really great way to broaden your social circle and stay active in a whole new community.