Editor’s note March 31: Significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic mean some of this advice may no longer apply. Please remember to practice social distancing and follow all CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of your loved ones and yourselves.
Engaging in new activities and hobbies can be beneficial for senior health. From outdoor fun to crafting, we rounded up a list of hobbies and the health benefits for seniors.
Health Benefits of Hobbies
Hobbies for seniors provide a multitude of health benefits. These can include anything from socializing to improving motor skills. However, learning new skills can also have long-term effects. According to the National Institute on Aging, “one study found that older adults who learned quilting or digital photography had more memory improvement than those who only socialized or did less cognitively demanding activities.” Here are some health benefits of hobbies.
- Keeps seniors engaged and busy
- Improves self-esteem
- Promotes social interaction
- Improves motor skills (if a physical exercise)
- Improves thinking ability
Outdoor Fun and Exercise
Hobbies for elderly people can encourage physical exercise. Here are a few rigorous activities for indoor or outdoor fun.
- Reduces stress
- Encourages the use of motor skills, strength, and problem-solving skills
- Studies have shown gardening helps improve overall mental health
- Improves heart health and increases serotonin levels
- Improves balance, gait, and coordination
- Helps reduce risk of falls and fractures
- Improves cardiovascular fitness and flexibility
- Doesn’t put pressure on joints
- Improves muscle tone and posture
Arts and Crafts
When taking part in new creative hobbies, older adults can improve their memory and motor functions.
- Lowers stress levels, heart rate, and blood pressure
- Provides the same benefits as meditation
- Improves motor functions
- Drawing or painting
- Enables self-expression
- Manages stress
- Stimulates the brain
- Can be done as a social activity
- Provides a sense of autonomy
- Contributes to psychological well-being
Hobbies for older adults can also be more solitary, but they can still prove to be great stress-relievers.
- Journaling or scrapbooking
- Relieves stress
- Helps you identify happy memories, life struggles, and future goals
- Encourages self-expression and promotes memory retention
- Play games
- Games like chess keep memory sharp and encourage strategic thinking
- Card games can be simple or complex, depending on ability levels
- Playing bingo is fun and also encourages social interaction
- Exercises the mind
- Reduces stress and improves sleep
- Joining a book club can increase social circles