The Health Benefits of Hobbies by Daniel Flinn – The word “Hobby” comes to us from the English term “Hobbyhorse.” My father, whose hobby involved woodworking, once built for me and my brother a wooden horse on which we spent hours passing away the time. The Spanish word for Hobby is “pasatiempo” or literally, passing time. It turns out, however, that hobbies can be more than simply something to do with your time. As Christopher D. Stanton of Reknown Medical Group puts it, “hobbies provide physical and mental health benefits by giving a person an alternative place to spend time and mental energy and therefore become reinvigorated for the rest of life.”
Duane Orzechowski, proprietor of Sunbird Hobbies, knows much about hobbies. He built a business that encourages hobby enthusiasts of all ages to engage in healthy alternatives to a sedentary life style. His shop carries remote control cars and planes, plastic and wood kits, rockets, kites, games, metal detectors, and the latest equipment for Pickleball, a hobby that has been sweeping the country for the last ten years, especially where seniors are concerned. Duane has this to say about hobbies: “They get people outside in the fresh air and they keep people moving.”
Dani Dipirro, on her website, Positively Present, cites research supporting the concept that “engaging in enjoyable activities during down time were associated with lower blood pressure, total cortisol, waist circumference, and body mass index. Engaging in these activities also correlated to higher levels of positive psycho-social states and lower levels of depression and negative affect. Hobbies are good for your mind and your body.”
Dr. Ramon DeLeon of the Millennium Physicians Group encourages his patients to get out and engage in some form of exercise. He believes that keeping our bodies moving slows the aging process, keeps muscles toned, and lowers both blood pressure and bad cholesterol. If his patients practiced a hobby that gets them moving, he believes they would come into his office with fewer health problems.
Visit our area beaches anytime, and you will find people engaged in various hobbies such as swimming, walking, snorkeling, shelling, metal detecting, volleyball, netball, skim boarding, tubing, fishing, and a host of other activities.
Now picture yourself doing one of these or perhaps another hobby. Breathe in the fresh air. Take in the healing effects of the sun (with sun block, of course). Imagine yourself getting stronger and your immune system improving. And whether the hobby you choose takes place inside or outside, involves just a little physical activity or quite a bit, the benefits are there for the taking. What are you waiting for?
Daniel Flinn is a retired high school and college English teacher. He can be reached at DanielRobertFlinn@gmail.com.