Hobbies are healthy: iLIVE
Participating in a recreational activity such as a hobby can be highly beneficial to several aspects of health, including stress reduction, say experts.
While a common perception may relegate hobbies to whiling away time, studies have shown that mind-exercising hobbies could even mitigate the impact of Alzheimer’s disease (Case Western Reserve University of Medicine, Cleveland US).
In an increasingly time-poor society, participation in constructive activities offer benefits that include improved concentration, creativity, better health and manual dexterity.
Finding balance between work and play is becoming increasingly difficult says clinical psychologist Marensia Lotter.
“Couch potatoes simply shift gears slightly between the office chair and the spot before the television with little stimulation bar a storyline. Hobbies can play a highly effective role in in the health and wellbeing of individuals; reducing blood pressure, spurring creativity and potentially significant stress reduction as one’s focus is entirely transplanted to the activity at hand. Hobbies have the potential to provide the ultimate escapism,” says Lotter.
It allows individuals to grow beyond the single dimension of career and work-based achievement drivers.
Elizabeth Morley, convenor of the annual Hobby-X expo that showcases a myriad of pastimes, says that visitor numbers to the shows have increased significantly over the past 15 years. “As social pace accelerates, so has the interest in constructive pastimes.
The growth in visitor numbers has been nothing short of spectacular, with an aggregate growth of 23% year on year.” Morley says that the increase in attendance as well as rocketing sales and workshop attendance at the event indicate growing interest among consumers to seek balance and reclaim time for themselves.
The best hobbies are ones that marry a love of the task with achievement and purpose. While the end-goal does not have to be big, Lotter says that the process and ultimate accomplishment of a goal plays an important role in personal fulfilment.
“In a social environment, hobbies also allow for social discourse, the exchange of ideas and the development of new ideas.” Just as physical activity strengthens to physical body, the intellectual exercise that constructive pastimes offer keeps the brain agile and fit.
Lotter says that hobbies are also healthy for relationships, either as personal pursuits or collaborative pastimes. “Romantic relationships depend very much on the continued growth, in tandem, of the parties comprising the partnership.
Spending a portion of one’s leisure time, together or separately, engaging in activities that have nothing to do with a career could have substantial relationship benefits, again adding additional dimensions to the rapport between two people.”