Why New Hobbies Boost Your Brain and Body

If you’ve been thinking about starting a new hobby, you’re not alone. As the pandemic swept across the country, senior adults adapted new ways to spend their time in isolation. According to the Wall Street Journal, online classes in chess, art, and music saw spikes in 2020. Learning sites like Skillshare and Coursera experienced significant growth in enrollment.

But for a senior adult, nurturing a new hobby can be a challenge. As creatures of habit, we tend to embrace the familiar and often face the unknown with trepidation. Still, novel pastimes offer benefits that the mundane do not.

According to Dr. Ipsit Vahia, Director of Geriatric Outpatient Services for Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital, “New brain cell growth can happen even late into adulthood. The process of learning and acquiring new information and experiences, like through structured classes, can stimulate that process.”

Dr. Denise Park, Director of Research for the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas, also promotes new hobbies for senior adults. “It seems it is not enough just to get out and do something—it is important to get out and do something that is unfamiliar and mentally challenging, and that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially,” she said in an interview with the Association for Psychological Science. “When you are inside your comfort zone you may be outside of the enhancement zone.”

Challenge Yourself to Start a New Hobby

Ready to get out of your comfort zone? Here are seven new hobbies to consider and a summary of their benefits:

  • Photography. Enhances working memory, long-term memory, and active engagement.
  • Quilting. Promotes working memory, long-term memory, and active engagement.
  • Gardening. Boosts muscle strength, stamina, and flexibility, and lowers the risk of vitamin D deficiency.
  • Writing. Improves memory, lowers stress levels, and improves sleep.
  • Dancing. Improves cardiovascular health, increases stamina, strengthens bones and muscle, and improves balance.
  • Volunteering. Lowers stress and depression levels.
  • Art class (drawing, painting, or sculpting). Lowers stress, enhances coping skills, engages memory, and promotes fine motor dexterity and coordination.

Park Springs Offers a Plethora of Hobbies

With 50 diverse clubs, Park Springs strives to keep our Members active and healthy. Challenge your mental acuity with our Artist Workshop and Rummikub. Stay physically active with tai-chi and yoga or dancing. Get fresh air and exercise your hands in the garden. Join one of the Member association committees to make a difference in the life plan community.

Downsizing and moving into a life plan community can be tough. We work hard to make sure you feel comfortable with independent living after retirement by offering a variety of hobbies to boost your mental and physical health for years to come.