GUEST article AUTHOR - JULIE MORRIS
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The older we get, the less time we make for extracurricular activities. We think we’re too busy to have a pastime that doesn’t directly serve a purpose. But who says that a hobby has to be a waste of time? They can be useful for keeping you on your toes. Regardless of your age, you can pick up a new hobby or skill, either online or in a group setting. Here are five activities that can help you stay sharp and young by exercising your body or brain.
Puzzles and Brain Games
Before the Internet, people completed jigsaw puzzles on their coffee table. Today, puzzles are just a challenging and fulfilling as they once were. All puzzles, including brain games such as Sudoku and crosswords, strengthen cognitive abilities using imaginative association and memory. Research suggests that puzzles slow the effect of aging on mental skills.
Grab a jigsaw puzzle, invite some friends and have a puzzle night at home. Pick up a crossword puzzle in the daily newspaper, or play Sudoku online. Any logic puzzle or brain game that you can play on paper can also be found online. Since there’s an app for everything, you’ll discover new game applications that you had never played before.
Mahjong is a four-person game of skill, strategy and calculation played with tiles. You don’t need learn how to read Chinese characters to play mahjong. As long as you can remember the symbols or characters on the block, you can play. Get three friends, a mahjong set and get a game going!
Cooking and Baking
Cooking doesn’t have to be a chore. Not only is cooking homemade food healthy and cost effective, but it also has other benefits. You’ll get to constantly challenge yourself with new recipes, keep your brain thinking as you figure out and follow instructions, make new creations, and have treats to give your loved ones. Cooking is a craft, a life source, and a way to take care of others. Functional, fun and flavorful! Bake with love, either solo or with others. Learn new recipes and techniques at a cooking class, or try new things at home with online recipes and video tutorials.
Dancing will keep you healthy and youthful at any age, especially if you’re a senior in addiction recovery. The great thing about dance is that there are no rules to it. It can be as simple as turning on the music and dancing to the beat. You don’t need special training or skills to let your body move to the music.
Dance at home alone, or make it a social activity by joining a class like line dancing. Make sure you understand your limits so you don’t cause injury. However, getting in shape will make you less prone to injury as your body builds up strength, balance and flexibility.
Arts & Crafts
If you’re feeling creative, it’s time to put your hands to work. Although it might seem intimidating at first, you don’t need to be a trained master or professional to reap the benefits of arts and crafts. In fact, painting, drawing, and sculpting (among others) can help boost confidence, reduce stress levels, and help build friendships, particularly for those who suffer from anxiety, depression, or addiction. Don’t feel intimidated; picking up a paintbrush could be just the thing you need!
Instruments are not just for kids, professional musicians, or teenagers living out their rock star fantasies in the garage. Anyone can learn at any age, including seniors. Playing a musical instrument has many mental and emotional benefits, including memory, discipline, confidence, listening skills and happiness. Music also has a social aspect to it, as most instruments are not played alone. Start learning online through tutorials, take lessons with a private instructor, or join a class so you can play with others.
Hobbies are good to have regardless of what age you are. You’re never too busy, old, poor, or out of shape for a hobby. Find what piques your interest and start learning today.
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