How do we stay healthy and happy as we age? What’s the key? We often see the same things listed as answers to this question: healthy diet, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, and maintaining solid personal relationships with family and friends. Hobbies are not usually listed as part of the equation, but they really should be. When you have a hobby or something you’re passionate about, it can do wonders for the mind, body and the soul.
So what qualifies as a hobby? The short answer is this: pretty much anything! As long as it’s something you like to do and want to keep up with. You don’t need to focus on just one either – you can have as many as you want. Let’s take a look at some of the different categories of hobbies and how they can benefit you.
Anything that requires you to move is always good for the body, but being active is also good for the brain. It’s important to remember that exercise doesn’t have to come only in the form of structured classes or on gym equipment.
One of the best active hobbies for seniors is dancing. It’s not only great for physical fitness, but it has a social aspect as well. The mental challenge of remembering steps requires your brain to work hard as you move, while the movements themselves are sure to get your heart pumping and the blood flowing.
Dancing is a big part of Bria Communities and it’s present at almost every event, from parties for special occasions to our weekly socials. Recently at the Waterford, they hosted a Beginners Line Dancing class and it was wonderful to hear the laughter from the residents as they learned something new together. It’s a great bonding experience for everyone!
Dancing in a group setting is a great way to meet new people, whether it’s partner structured like ballroom dancing, in a group like square dancing, or just a good old fashioned party setting where you can just move to the music with friends. The social aspect combined with the pleasure of hearing music you love and the movements themselves create a truly joyful experience.
Walking is another great hobby for those who like to stay physically active. You can stick to the same route every day or switch it up when you want to make your brain work a little harder.
It’s also quite a calm activity, whether you go on your own to collect your thoughts or go with a friend or group and chat as you stroll.
Activities like yoga or tai chi are also great hobbies for seniors. The slow, gentle movements can improve balance and flexibility. What’s even better is the calm atmosphere. The quiet and meditative nature of these activities has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.
Being creative activates a whole different part of the brain, so it’s good to take part in hobbies that have a more artistic side to them. Since many of these types of hobbies involve delicate work with your hands, they also require you to use your whole brain. You have to focus on intricate details while using your imagination at the same time. Anything from painting, sculpting and scrapbooking to photographing, knitting and sewing can achieve that balance of both technical and creative skills.
Playing music is another hobby that does wonders for the brain and the spirit. When you’re practicing or performing, your brain has to work to remember the notes and while also physically playing them. Meanwhile, you also experience the joy of creating and hearing the results. Music (and artistic pursuits in general) can be very powerful and therapeutic, have been shown to drastically improve moods. They also allow you to express yourself in an entirely different non-verbal way. The other nice part about creative hobbies is that they can easily be done solo or in a group setting if you crave the social aspect.
Games of logic
If you really want to get your brain to work extra hard, this is the sort of hobby you want to add to your roster. This includes things like puzzles, card games, board games, video games, and computer games. If you’ve always liked math, give Sudoku a try. Wordsmiths will enjoy crosswords and word searches. Puzzles are a perfect group activity, since larger, more complex puzzles will certainly require more hands on deck to get completed. It’s good to add in these types of hobbies to the mix, since they’re especially good to keep your memory sharp.
At Bria Communities, we encourage our residents to keep busy and pursue the hobbies they love. We offer several different types of group activities like gardening clubs, exercise classes, book clubs, and more. What’s most special about these activities is that they’re run by the residents themselves, so if they have the freedom to do what they love and share these passions with other residents.