By Peter Yurek

Remember your childhood – days of riding your bike, fishing, playing sports, or just doodling? We know how important play is in the healthy development of our children; but did you know that play is also crucial in being a healthy adult? In adult life, play takes the form of activities we call hobbies. Hobbies, defined as an activity regularly done for pleasure in your spare time, provide us with the chance to escape the routine of everyday life and to do something that we are passionate about.

Different types of hobbies can offer different benefits.

Physical/Outdoor hobbies (hiking, swimming, martial arts, gardening) help to improve your physical health and relieve stress.

Social hobbies (travelling, joining a club, playing games, volunteering) allow you to socialize and make new friends and new memories.

Creative hobbies (painting, photography, cake decorating, knitting or quilting) help you to build emotional expression and a sense of accomplishment.

Collecting hobbies (antique cars, stamps, coins) allow you to build organizational skills and a sense of pride.

Making and Tinkering hobbies (old cars, models, 3D printing, dressmaking) give you the enjoyment of building, repairing and restoring successfully.

Enrichment hobbies (writing, reading, learning a new language) help you to improve your mind and interests.

According to Kettering University, hobbies can improve your health by decreasing blood pressure, stress hormones and lowering bouts of depression. Hobbies are good for our brains too. They improve neuroplasticity which means the brain can expand connections between memory and other areas of the brain thereby strengthening your thinking and memory. Making time for hobbies, for doing something for enjoyment and interest, can improve your physical health, your mental health and your emotional health.