According to experts, how you spend your time does matter when it comes to your overall health, which means that hobbies can be good for you in a variety of ways. In this article, we’ll explain how finding hobbies can keep you happy and healthy.
What Does Research Say?
In 2010, a group of researchers from Texas, Kansas, and Pittsburg universities published results from 4 large studies involving 1,399 participants. The participants were both male and female with various health issues. They developed a scale known as the Pittsburgh Enjoyable Activities Test, which measured how hobbies and leisure pursuits affected overall health. Here’s what they discovered:
- Participants who scored high on the test had lower blood pressure, lower body mass index, lower stress hormone levels, smaller waists, and overall better physical function. Of course, it is possible that people who participate in activities are already healthy- findings align with other studies showing that hobbies and other leisure pursuits offer a variety of benefits including greater life expectancy and decreased risk of severe disease.
- Participants who engaged in hobbies and leisure pursuits got more quality sleep than those who did not.
- Participants engaging in hobbies and leisure pursuits had lower stress levels and were better equipped to deal with stressful life events. Those who scored high on the activities test had lower incidences of negative moods/depression and more positive attitudes than those who scored low.
- Participants who engaged in hobbies and leisure pursuits were happier and felt they had purpose and meaning.
- Participants who engaged in leisure activities had a larger, diverse social network- which is critical for healthy, happy aging.
Finally, there is one more benefit to engaging in a hobby or other leisure pursuit:
- Work performance is improved. One study at San Francisco State University revealed that those who were engaging in creative outlets away from work were better at solving problems at work. This is because a hobby gives workers an opportunity to recover from the demands of their jobs, challenges them to learn new skills, and increases their sense of control.
Now that you understand the benefits of having a hobby, how do you choose the right one to keep you happy and healthy?
How to Choose the Right Hobby
What is the difference between a hobby & an interest?
Before we can explain how to choose the right hobby, it’s important to understand the difference between a “hobby” and an “interest”.
- A hobby is a leisure activity that you engage in consistently and voluntarily. It may be inspired by an interest but requires a commitment and physical action.
- An interest is the desire to learn about something. It can be spawned from natural curiosity, family experience, or professional goals. However, it does not require physical action but intellectual action.
Choosing Your Hobby
Following are a few ways that you can determine which hobby is best for you:
- Ask yourself what it is that you’ve always wanted to do
- Consider what made you happy as a child
- Think about how you like spending your time
- Go on an inspiration quest
- Take a class/lesson
Any Activity Can Be a Hobby
Look around at your life and the activities you already engage in. One (or more) of those could become a hobby with a slight change in attitude and awareness. Consider the following as a hobby:
- Training your pet
- Home decoration
- Taking kids to their activities
Research indicates that hobbies can help you stay happy and healthy. At Solivita Living, we offer a wide variety of amenities to help you find a hobby you enjoy. We offer our clients a no-hassle, simple process for relocating and selling their homes. We’ve worked with many retirees helping dreams come true. Contact us today!