Participating in Activities You Enjoy—More Than Just Fun and Games
There are many things you can do to help yourself age well. Physical activity, exercise, and making healthy food choices are the cornerstones for most suggestions about healthy aging. But emerging research also indicates the possibility that engaging in social and productive activities you enjoy, like taking an art class or volunteering in your community or with your place of worship, may also help maintain your wellbeing. A number of early studies found that people who are involved in hobbies and other social and leisure pursuits may be at lower risk for (and less likely to develop) some health problems, including dementia. They might even live longer. In one study, older adults who reported participating in social activities (e.g., played games, belonged to social groups, traveled) or meaningful, productive activities (e.g., had paid or unpaid jobs, gardened) lived longer than people who did not. Researchers are exploring if participation in these kinds of activities can be the direct cause of positive health outcomes.