When you snooze, you lose!
Hobbies can be beneficial physically, mentally and socially

hobbyA wise man once told me it’s important to have a hobby as you age. In his younger years, this man loved to fish and hunt but gave up both to spend more time with his wife. When he retired, gardening became his passion but he soon found keeping up with his two-acre yard too physically demanding. But without a hobby, the man just became more and more lethargic.

That’s when he started fishing again and this time around, he really put all of his energy and time into it, reading up on this new/old hobby, meeting new friends while doing it, and trying new techniques and equipment to get better at it.

At 75, fishing is keeping him engaged, happy and young. These days, his wife wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fulfills you. Whether it’s fishing or painting, cycling or making beer, taking up a hobby can help fill the void often left when you end a career. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose that you may have received from your job—of course, without the hassles and stress.

Mentally challenges you. Hobbies can give your brain a workout, but you need to choose something that makes you step outside your comfort zone.“Itseems it’s not enough just to get out and do something—it’s important to get out and do something unfamiliar and mentally challenging that provides broad stimulation mentally and socially,” says Dr. Denise Park of Texas University in Dallas. In fact, one pastime that’ll keep your mind sharp is ping-pong. Yep, you read it right, becoming skilled at ping-pong will enhance your motor, strategy and long-term memory functions with its lightning-fast decisions and actions.

Connects you. Even if you are the most solitary knitter and you and those clicking needles never leave the comfort of your living room, a hobby will bring you closer to other people. Perhaps it’s simply mentioning your pastime in conversation and unexpectedly finding someone else who shares your passion … or wants to learn. Or giving byproducts of your hobby away (everyone loves homemade gifts) is a sure way to win friends. Of course, you can also take classes, join clubs or even chat online to bond with kindred spirits.

Energizes you. Doing something you enjoy is one of the best ways to soothe frazzled nerves, take the edge off a rough day and give you a fresh burst of energy. Whether you devote a few minutes or a few hours to the activity, you’ll always feel better for doing it!