The Center for American Progress declared United States citizens the most overworked people in the developed world, primarily due to hostile public policies enacted by federal and state legislators. Thus it should be no surprise that hobby participation has been on a perpetual decline.
A 2013 analysis by the Hobby Manufacturers Association (HMA) found that sales of model hobby products like trains and radio-controlled cars, fell by nine percent from 2009 to 2011. Sports and other physical activities are also being abandoned. The 2013 Participation Report by the Physical Activity Council found that 28 percent of Americans are completely inactive, meaning they do not participate in any sort of sport or physical activity.
Hobbies not only give your life balance, but relieve stress, lower blood pressure and can provide a social outlet in some situations. Most inactive people use the lack of time excuse for their monotonous existences. But there are plenty of hobbies to choose from that suit both your personality and work schedule.
The privilege of being able to pick fresh tomatoes, onions and watermelons from your own backyard is more than enough reason to take up gardening as a hobby. But the health benefits beyond vitamins and minerals should make the decision even easier.
A 2011 study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that performing gardening activities decreases cortisol levels in the brain. Cortisol is often referred to as the stress hormone. Moreover, Dr. Christopher Lowry of the University of Colorado told CNN that a bacteria found in soil called Mycobacterium vaccae also increased serotonin levels in the brains of lab mice.
Of course many people think of a garden as a backyard activity. But box gardening can even be done in a high-rise apartment complex as long as adequate sunlight shines through your windows.
Whether you sing them in the shower or just listen on your iPod, everyone has songs and music scores they cannot get enough of. Learning to replicate those sounds or even making your own original music will provide a sense of accomplishment and brain exercise that will keep your memory and cognitive functioning sharp.
Researchers at Northwestern University concluded in a study that learning to play an instrument stimulates synaptic activity in the brain, improves reading skills and language comprehension. The study also found that those with a musical background had greater neural reactions to sound stimuli than those without one. TED-Ed explains more about how playing an instrument benefits the brain.
Used guitars, wind instruments and electronic keyboards can be found for cheap at pawn shops or thrift stores. Those with the space and money can consider a piano or organ to commence their musical journeys. The best thing to do is just pick it up and start playing. Several famous musicians, including Paul McCartney, Lionel Richie and Stevie Ray Vaughn admit they cannot read sheet music.
The American Motorcyclist Association has more than 215,000 members across the country who ride over 1.5 billion miles per year. Members of the organization (fee to join is $49) get free roadside assistance, discounts on motorcycle helmets and other gear and a subscription to their magazine. Now all you need is a bike and a sense of adventure.
Brand new street-legal motorcycles are surprisingly cheap. A Sym Wolf Classic 150 can be had for $3,000. The Qlink XF200 is even more affordable at $2,700. It all depends on your personal taste and budget. Most states do not require a separate motorcycle license above and beyond your driver’s license. Most simply add endorsements to your existing license that make it legal for you to ride.
A hobby is not something that you can force yourself to do. The key is to continue trying new things until you find an activity that you cannot wait to do again and again.