Hobbies can offer numerous physical and mental benefits for individuals of all ages. For seniors with plenty of free time, a hobby can be especially beneficial because it helps pass the day constructively. A hobby can be anything that provides enjoyment, from reading to gardening. New hobbies provide the opportunity to learn a new skill or new information, and an old hobby lets you revisit your talents. At The Gardens at Barry Road in Kansas City, Missouri, we offer a variety of opportunities for the hobbyist. Consider the following six benefits of creative hobbies for seniors.
Hobbies can relax you because they take your mind off other pressing issues, such as health concerns or feeling apart from loved ones. Art classes can help you express ideas that you’ve been holding inside, such as grief and illness. Stress often leads to depression and anxiety, but art can make it easier to cope by offering you a sense of control over at least one area in your life.
A physical hobby such as walking or yoga can be enough to give your immune system the boost it needs to fight off colds and illnesses, especially during the winter months. Physical activities like meditation can help you learn to stay calm when you are in the midst of a crisis, which may help keep your blood pressure and other vitals in check. Physical hobbies can improve your hand-eye coordination, improve your memory and motor skills and help keep you in better shape to guard against falls and other injuries.
Completing a project can make you feel accomplished, which can boost your self-esteem. Feeling accomplished provides a boost of endorphins, leaving you feeling great about yourself. Also, just knowing you tried something new and achieved a goal is something to be proud of. Learning something new can also make it easier to talk to others with similar interests and lead to new friendships.
Hobbies play an important role in brain activity, especially in older adults. One way to keep your brain fit and active as you age is through creative endeavors. Challenging your brain creates new contact points between cells and improves brain activity. According to Harvard Medical School, mental stimulation provides the same type of boost for your mind that exercising does for the body. It helps keep you young and active and more mentally alert. By stimulating the brain, you may be able to improve your quality and quantity of life, especially for those with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders.
When you’re younger and busy with work and family, it can be difficult to explore new hobbies. If you’ve ever wanted to try painting or take up sculpting, now is the perfect time to schedule it into your to-do list. You’ll never know what you can accomplish or what you’re good at until you try. You may discover that you have an unexplored talent that’s been hidden all these years.
Meditation is one hobby you can engage in no matter where you are. By closing your eyes and thinking of positive and healthy thoughts on a regular basis, you can improve your mood. Consider taking the time to pray or reflect on bible lessons and verses. Consider Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent," or Proverbs 12:25, "Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."
When choosing a new hobby, it’s important to take into consideration your activity level and what you are physically and mentally capable of. If you are still active and are transitioning into retirement, you might be able to pick up any interest, such as golfing or sightseeing, and run with it. If you have mobility issues or health concerns that keep you close to home, you may want to consider a sedentary hobby like reading.
Other popular hobbies for seniors include:
• Online learning
• Volunteer work
• Bird watching
• Learning a musical instrument
At The Gardens at Barry Road, we offer many opportunities to explore new and interesting hobbies. Our Bible study groups make it easy to focus on your spirituality, and prayer groups are one way to meditate and help others. We have a courtyard and walking paths to get in touch with nature and hobbies like bird watching or gardening. There’s also a library and computer room for reading and online learning. Whether you want to explore a new hobby on your own or join an art class or book club and focus on both fun and fellowship, you can find plenty of opportunities at The Gardens at Barry Road.