Just like the rest of your body, each year, your brain changes. Generally, as it does, your mental functioning also changes. Experts say that during your mid-thirties, you may begin to notice it becoming more difficult to remember names or memorize words or numbers. As you reach your forties and fifties, your cognitive reasoning may become a little slower. From age sixty to seventy your brain begins to shrink, and your memory may become less efficient. These are just some of the reasons why hobbies for adults can be incredibly important.
This is the age when Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia most commonly arise. During your seventies and eighties, your chance of Alzheimer’s increases quite dramatically. This can also be a difficult time for forming new memories.
In addition to the natural growth and change of your body and brain, we simply have less stimuli as we grow older. We’re no longer in school and some of us are no longer working a 40 hour week. Kids, if you have them, have left the house as they are growing older and living their own lives.
Without the activities that used to keep our brains and bodies busy, it’s easy to become bored and for our minds to slow. That’s why hobbies are just as important as an adult as they are when you’re a child.
The Future of Your Brain is Bright
Although mental deterioration is one of the most dreaded consequences of aging. It is not inevitable. Just because you’re growing older does not mean that you have to accept the fact that your mind is going to slow down, and your memory will not be as good as it used to be. Like any other part of your body, you can keep your brain active by giving it regular exercise. A great way to do so is by starting a new activity.
Activating Your Brain Cells
When your brain is stimulated by activity, new connections are generated between nerve cells. This process is known as neuroplasticity. This builds up a reserve of functions that protects against future brain cell loss. Any type of mentally stimulating activity can help you to maintain a youthful brain from sudoku and crossword puzzles to things that require manual dexterity such as painting or knitting. A fun way to activate your brain cells is to start a new hobby.
10 Best Hobbies to Start as an Adult
You’re never too old to try something new. Here are ten of the best hobbies to start as an adult to keep your brain and mind in good shape.
Learn an Instrument
Learning to play an instrument gives your brain a total workout. This is because it uses a wide range of skills that utilize the whole nervous system. For example, practicing on a musical instrument involves your working memory, controlled attention, manual dexterity, and self-discipline. Studies show that musical training can change the function and structure of the brain.
Furthermore, playing an instrument can improve mental clarity and long-term memory. Music can also help unlock memories in people with advanced dementia. Not only that, playing music is emotionally rewarding. It also involves social contact, cooperation, and empathy all of which promote healthy aging and prolong life.
Take a Class
Even though your brain changes as you age, it doesn’t stop working. Learning something new can slow down cognitive aging. Exposure to new ideas and new people can challenge your mind and help improve your memory. Learning a complex skill such exercises both working and long-term memory. If you don’t want to go back to school, there are plenty of courses you can take online from the comfort of your home and many of them are free. Are you stuck for ideas about what class to take? How about these:
- Web design for beginners
- Greek and Roman mythology
- Climate change and health
- Managing your health
Become a Volunteer
Volunteering is not only good for your physical health – reducing your risk of high blood pressure – but it’s also good for your mood and brain function. Because it promotes cognitive functions it improves your mental clarity and may reduce your risk of developing dementia.
Volunteering not only provides a sense of purpose, but it’s also good for maintaining a youthful mind. Volunteering reduces anxiety and depression and makes people feel happier and healthier. Becoming a volunteer is also a good way to meet new people and increase communication skills. If you want to become a volunteer, here are some steps to get you started.
Get Creative with Color
You don’t have to have a talent for drawing or painting to enjoy using colors. You can have just as much fun and reap all the benefits by coloring preprinted drawings. Adult coloring has the same benefits as meditation. That means it lowers your blood pressure, slows your heart rate, reduces stress and anxiety, increases your focus, and boosts your creativity.
You can find a wide range of adult coloring books online. You can use all kinds of media to color in them, such as gel pens, felt pens, colored pencils, pastels, and watercolors. You can also download coloring apps so that you can color anywhere without having to carry a book or pens.
Learn a New Language
One of the best ways to stimulate your brain and stave off dementia is to learn a second language, which is why its one of the best hobbies for adults. This type of learning not only encourages you to think differently, but it also helps your brain forge new neuronal connections.
Taking lessons in a new language is like taking your brain to the gym. Language training also improves your memory and your overall cognitive function. It also boosts your self-esteem and gives you new opportunities for socializing. There are plenty of free online resources for learning many languages from French and Italian to Russian and Japanese. Some of the best apps include:
- Duolingo: Offers more than 60 languages including Navajo, Hebrew, Japanese, and Kingon.
- MemRise: Offers more than 20 languages including Arabic, Swedish, and Yoruba.
- Babel: Offers 13 languages including Italian, Spanish, and Mexican.
- Hello Talk: Links to you a chat partner to help you learn one of more than 150 languages.
- Busuu: Offers 12 languages including Russian, Polish, and Arabic.
Take Dancing Lessons
Dancing is not just a workout for your body. As well as improving coordination, it combines physical and mental stimulation, which means it has a positive impact on cognitive functions and neuroplasticity. Dancing can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and benefit people who suffer from dementia, memory loss, confusion, and disorientation.
It can improve memory and strengthen neural connections because it stimulates so many different areas of the brain, such as the cerebellum – which helps you maintain balance, the basal ganglia – which helps with motor control, and the somatosensory cortex – which processes tactile information.
Practice Brain Games
Brain games are a stimulating way to pass the time and have many benefits such as improving memory, increasing attention, boosting cognitive function, and reducing your risk of dementia which is what makes them such great hobbies for adults. They can be played anywhere, and you can enjoy them alone or with a group of friends. Fun ideas for brain games include:
- Crossword or find the word puzzles
- Online games
- Brain training apps
- Jigsaw puzzles
- Memory games
Take up Scrapbooking
Scrapbooking is a rewarding hobby for adults in many ways. It stimulates creativity, reduces stress and anxiety, and encourages concentration. But that’s not all, while you are creating your scrapbooking pages, you are relaxing and breathing deeply, which slows your heart rate lowers your blood pressure. While you’re creating memories on the page, you’re also boosting your brain’s memory functions.
By challenging your mind, scrapbooking helps your brain to build new connections and strengthen existing ones. Many cognitive skills come into play, such as pattern recognition and organization. As you cut paper, spread glue, and peel stickers, scrapbooking also improves your hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and dexterity, strengthening your fingers, hands, and wrists. There are no strict rules for scrapbooking, you can let your creativity run free. Some ideas for scrapbook themes include:
- A trip you took
- Your personal milestones
- Your friends and family
- School reunion
- Favorite animals
- Life history
- News events
Listen to Audiobooks
Audio books are great to listen to when you are traveling, relaxing, soaking in the tub, or if you’re having difficulty getting off to sleep. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular hobbies for adults. Studies show that listening to audiobooks has many positive effects on your brain function. As well as providing mental stimulation, it can help reduce the risk and slow down the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Because you get so immersed in listening to them, audiobooks also help you focus your attention and stimulate your imagination. Listening to your book of choice stimulates your hippocampus and frontal cortex– the parts of the brain that are responsible for memory formations and learning. Other benefits may include sparking an emotional response, building literacy skills, increasing vocabulary, improving time management, and reducing negative thoughts.
Here are some places where you can access audiobooks:
Get into Arts and Crafts
There are many studies to support the fact that practicing arts and crafts can improve cognitive functions. They do so by building new and stronger neural pathways. Crafts can also help your brain form more efficient networks between synapses and produce alternate brain strategies. And there is certainly a wide range of arts and crafts to choose from. What’s more, if you not feeling in a particularly creative mood, even viewing art can help your brain restructure, reshape, and adapt. Here are some art and craft ideas:
- Model making
- Painting and drawing
- Jewelry making
Never Stop Learning
The best way to keep your mind active as you age is to maintain a healthy curiosity and never stop questioning. You are never too old to learn something new and hobbies are a great way to exercise your brain, meet new people, and make new friends. It’s always good to take time out and do something fun and creative. Not only will it inspire you, but it will make you feel happy and more fulfilled.