Scientific studies have found that having hobbies improves physical and mental health. What hobbies can bring more health benefits? We have selected some of the best options.
The hobbies are activities that are initiated by fans (or calling). They are a way of investing free time, leisure time, in something that we like. However, having hobbies can also be very healthy.
Numerous research has shown that having hobbies contributes to better physical and mental health. These improvements occur because hobbies:
- They promote social life.
- They can improve fitness.
- They help us to disconnect and release stress.
- They allow us to develop innate talents and capabilities.
- They favor creativity.
- They activate parts of the brain that we don’t usually use.
- They free us from fatigue and routine.
- They promote the release of serotonin, the hormone of happiness.
What hobbies or hobbies can bring more health benefits? We have selected some of the best options.
Photography can be therapeutic
The creation of images can contribute to our personal growth. In fact, there is a discipline, therapeutic photography, used to accompany processes of self-knowledge and personal development.
According to Marta Vázquez, a photographer specialized in therapeutic photography, this hobby can be therapeutic both in the act of photographing and at the moment of viewing the photographs, whether they are our work or that of others.
“The moment of taking a photograph becomes an exercise in consciousness, in deep connection, in full presence,” explains Vázquez. In addition to facilitating self-discovery and stimulating creativity and our curiosity, photography favors our empowerment and integrates us socially.
Write to heal wounds
Many people write as a hobby. However, writing is much more than that: by putting our thoughts on a sheet of paper we express our deepest ideas, we explore our fears and face them, and we run into our contradictions.
Silvia Adela Cohan, creator at the University of Buenos Aires of the writing workshop method based on psychoanalysis, believes that writing helps heal wounds.
“By writing without limitations and without brakes, what we do not know about ourselves is revealed to us and thus our own voice comes out,” explains Cohan in an interview that you can read here.
Playing chess exercises the brain
Since the success of the television series Gambit de Dama, focused on the life of a chess player, many have been encouraged to regain the love of this sensible hobby. It is a great option to keep your brain in shape.
Hundreds of studies have certified the mental benefits of playing chess. Psychologists and scientists Bilalic M. and Gobet F. found that chess players use specific areas of the brain more intensively, such as the lower left area of the parietal lobe.
Studies have also found that this practice can delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s improve psychotic disorders such as depression or even cases of Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity (ADHD) in children.
If you are thinking of starting in this practice or want to improve your skills, we recommend this book, Complete Chess Course (RBA), written by the eight-time Spanish Chess Champion Miguel Illescas.
Pilates relaxes you and takes care of your back
If you are one of the people who enjoys doing some Pilates on a daily basis, you have a lot of health gained. The benefits for the body and mind of practicing this discipline are innumerable.
Designed to create a connection between body and mind, this method combines strength and flexibility without putting undue stress on the muscles. Therefore, it is the ideal hobby for those who want to avoid back pain and, at the same time, remove stress.
Getting started in Pilates is easy. If you dare to do it, some online classes can be very useful. We recommend the “Pilates at Home” online course from the Cuerpomente School, taught by Adriana Sintes, which will help you learn how to do Pilates exercises at your own pace, from the most basic to the most advanced level.
Dancing is a gift for your body
Dancing is not just a fun hobby: by moving your body to the rhythm of the music, your health is enhanced. This activity provides up to 8 healthy benefits: improves cardiovascular health, balance and strength, mobility, cognitive performance, memory, promotes socialization, improves mood. You can read more about the benefits of dancing here.
Dancing can even be a way to meditate. Graciela Figueroa, dancer and choreographer behind a system that turns dance into a transforming moving meditation, explains in this interview that moving meditation “seeks to de-automate us so that we can connect with our essence”.