Educational qualification and your work profile may not always reflect your choices or thoughts and in many cases are taken up due to social pressure and monetary restrictions/needs. A hobby comes as a breath of fresh air in between all this. We have heard of none who has taken up a hobby owing to external factors. Hobbies provide an enriching personal experience and act as stress busters in this hectic world.
The craze for collecting stamps or currency notes/coins of various countries has been a part of most of us during our childhood days. Don’t we all still possess the treasured stamp book? In fact, the smell of aging currency notes stacked in our cupboards fill us with refreshing memories of our sweet past. Some of us have even been crazy enough to collect our bus tickets or bills and load up our draws. These hobbies have been our savior rescuing us in times of boredom or relieving us of our exam stress. But are you aware that these hobbies can do good to our mental and physical health as well?
Hobby for Health
There’s no second opinion that we take up a hobby only because we enjoy doing it. The world has become health-conscious and I am sure that taking up something that would benefit your health would only be a welcome change in your monotonous life. Leading a healthy life includes much more than eating right and doing exercise. It includes overall wellbeing which in turn depends on doing things you love, spending time for yourself and being happy engaging in leisure activities. These boost productivity, activate brain cells and make you feel wholesome. There are a number of hobby activities that can be quite engaging, fun-filled and healthy as well. For each of you wanting to bet on your good health pursue any or all of these:
Dancing: Not long ago in our apartment a friend of mine came with an innovative dance class offer to all residents. She knew a master who excelled in various dance forms and he was conducting classes that combined quite aplenty dance varieties in the form of a physical exercise class. Basically, it was dance form-based exercise. The experience was great and we are still continuing the class with the number of registrations only increasing. Aerobic classes were one of the initial exercise forms that involved dance steps and the latest trend is Zumba.
Dancing doesn’t need much-not even a pair of shoes but only yourself, some fast-paced songs and maybe some good company to keep you lively. If you are not yet ready to dance on the dance floor you have always got your cozy home. Make up a few steps and dance to the tunes unconcerned about anyone or anything in the room. Firstly, dancing is fun and above all, it is an excellent cardiovascular workout. Any cardio workout benefits health by strengthening bones and muscles, improving cardiovascular health and improving stamina. Studies show that dancing improves balance in the older population and also improves brain activity thereby decreasing the risk of dementia.
Cooking: Cooking is a great pastime that opens to you a plethora of new recipes. Passionate about cooking? This is the right hobby to eat nutritious meals that are healthy and tasty too. Try your hands on different healthy dishes, cook up interesting salads and try different mains sticking to your portion sizes while eating them.
Gardening: While gardening was not appreciated sometime back, nowadays more and more individuals are in love with the sowing, digging and reaping process. Getting your hands soiled is a great way to improve hand strength, decrease stress and getting a dose of vitamin D. Pulling out weeds, planting seeds and plucking flowers activate our muscles, improve stamina and add to aerobic exercise. Not only this, you get to enjoy the lush greenery surrounding you, the deliciously fresh veggies and juicy fruits right from your backyard garden. Read more about gardening, its advantages and the studies supporting it from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Music: This is not something new and mankind has relied upon music and instruments to relieve stress, feel relaxed and be happy. Just a silly thought but this has never escaped my mind whenever I listen to music-We find solace in listening to songs but do musicians and singers too find the same? I’ve always been a person who has always relied on music to boost my confidence, make me feel stronger and also during happy times. Listening to music benefits both physical and mental health. Even a few studies show that music is advantageous on the immune system, decreases stress, anxiety and keeps depression at bay. Listening to music right before a surgery decreases a person’s anxiety far better than taking prescription drugs as music was linked to lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol.
Keeping pets: Newspapers and magazines are filled with more and more articles on the advantages of owning a pet. Having an animal at home improves well-being, decreases stress, increases self-esteem, lowers BP and keeps you active. Pets at home also decrease the feeling of loneliness among the elderly population. Though studies exist showing that having a pet keeps a person healthier these studies do doubt whether it is the other way round-it might just be that healthy people are those who have a pet.
Pen down your thoughts: How on earth can sitting at your desk and writing be beneficial for your health? Writing your thoughts on a sheet of paper or on your laptop helps you express your feelings, reduce stress and improve sleep. Blogging or creative writing is a great way to bond with others and build new relationships with people having similar interests.
I hope that after reading through many of you would have already prioritized these hobbies according to your interest. Take up any of these hobbies to improvise your health, well-being and quality of life.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.