Yes, nutrition and exercise are paramount for a long, healthy life. But keeping your mind sharp is just as important. Whether you’re a senior looking to combat cognitive decline, a younger person who is trying to excel in your career, or someone who’s battling addiction, one of the best things you can do is find a new hobby. Learning new skills that exercise both your mind and body helps keeps you healthy, prolongs your life, and makes you more productive. Try one (or all) of these activities that can challenge you and bring joy to your life.
Learning a New Instrument
Being able to play a musical instrument is awesome for many reasons, but the journey of learning how to play is the real reward. Music training can improve long-term memory and brain development in younger people, and it can specifically benefit older people who may be experiencing slower reaction times as they age. Learning an instrument is a rich, multi-sensory experience that involves hearing, touch, vision, and fine motor skills.
Starting to play an instrument in your later years doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think. In fact, life experience is a great advantage. Listening to a wide array of music over a lifetime can give you perspective, along with an understanding of musical structures (even if it’s a subconscious understanding). Also, you’ve likely acquired the discipline and focus to practice, and the training can relieve stress—which adults will appreciate more so than kids. Plus, you’re choosing to play your instrument instead of being made to. Read this article for more information on why adults should take up a musical instrument.
Arts & Crafts
Another great skill for seniors and younger people to learn is how to create arts and crafts. While it’s a fun way to stimulate the brain, creating something that you can see and touch can be cathartic as well. Whether it’s drawing, painting, pottery, crocheting, bookbinding or the like, arts and crafts are beneficial—no matter if they are done as an individual or in a group. It’s great for people of all ages, but it’s particularly beneficial for retirees who are looking to add a meaningful activity to their lives and keep their minds sharp.
Dancing is one of the most fun and overall healthy activities that anyone can do. For kids, it’s a great alternative to team sports that provides a way for them to channel their endless energy, while also offering many other physical, mental, social, and educational benefits. Physical benefits for seniors include better muscle function, balance, flexibility, and stability—all of which can help prevent injuries. Dancing can also improve cognitive function, fight off dementia, promote emotional health, and improve your sense of well-being.
Hobbies like dancing are particularly effective for older adults who are recovering from addiction. The movements are an entertaining yet powerful way to articulate thoughts and emotions that are difficult to express through words or other communication methods.
Adding a new and challenging hobby to your exercise and nutrition routine can improve your mental and emotional health in countless ways. Why not try learning an instrument, creating arts or crafts, or dancing? At the very least, you will have tried something new and added a little adventure to your day.
Photo Credit: Unsplash
We’d like to give a Big Thanks to Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net for providing us with this article.