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Here Are The Surprising Health Benefits of Leisure Activities

By Sara Butler

Health Benefits of Activities

Lately, everyone seems to have a bit more time on their hands. Instead of sitting inside and consuming the roughly 87 seasons of Law and Order SVU, you may want to consider some activities that are a bit more stimulating -- to your mind, that is.

Choosing a hobby or activity that engages you mentally and stimulates your mind can help keep your brain sharp, enhancing mental capabilities and functions in the process. It’s especially important if you’re an older person. As well, a hobby can also help you to relax, something that’s equally important for mental health and resilience. And if your hobby is a leisure activity, then it’s a win-win!

Here are a few ideas from The Joint Chiropractic to help you use leisure activities to activate your mind as you alleviate your boredom.

Ask Yourself a Few Questions

As you try to find a new activity or healthy hobby to help ease your boredom, it’s also important to find something that stimulates your mind. To be successful in this endeavor, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you find the activity challenging?
  • Does the activity allow you to get some separation from daily tasks?
  • Does the activity make for a good story to enthrall friends and family with?
  • Does the activity give you a little pep in your step and make you feel good?

If you answer yes to these questions, then give this new activity a go!

Play an Instrument

Do you look back fondly on your fourth-grade rendition of “Hot Cross Buns” on the recorder? If so, why not pick a new musical instrument to give a try? It’s never too late to try something new and studies have found that learning to play any instrument helps to improve overall brain function.

Learning a new instrument may be a bit challenging at the start, but over time the benefits to your brain as well as your self-confidence will make it all worthwhile.

Learn a New Language

The advantage of speaking two languages will do more for you than impress your friends and family, it also has cognitive benefits.

An Italian study found that people who speak more than one language build up what is called a cognitive reserve. That means that the information stored away in the brain associated with the additional language helps to create functional tools that can be used later. In that way, learning a new language is an investment in your brain; with all the online tools at your disposal to learn, there’s no reason not to say it en français (or en español or auf Deutsch).

Pick Up a Good Book

Reading serves as a marvelous escape. You can travel anywhere you want in the world -- or even to other worlds -- without ever leaving your home. But reading is about more than simply escapism, it also happens to be very good for your mind.

When you read, your mind has to focus as your body relaxes. Reading has been found to lower blood pressure; research also suggests that it helps to improve your emotional and physical intelligence. Plus, books easily travel with you anywhere you want to go!

Grow a Garden

Gardening is good for your brain in a variety of ways. After all, you have to map out a garden, keep track of what you plant, help your plants to thrive, and then harvest the bounty. There are several mental benefits to gardening.

Of course, gardening is also good for the body because getting outside helps you to soak up the Vitamin D your body needs to function optimally. Also, you have to move your body, which helps to reduce stress levels. Best of all, you don’t need a green thumb to enjoy a simple garden. It’s not for anyone but you, after all.

There are so many things you can do to activate your mind without ever leaving your home. Try to find an activity that meets all your needs -- mental, physical, and emotional. Your brain (and body) will thank you!

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