There are plenty of easy-going hobbies that can add longevity to one’s life. From keeping the brain active by reading or listening to music to daily activities to look forward to such as gardening or stretching, here are tips from the experts on good-for-you pursuits that will provide a health boost.
Studies showing that gardeners are less stressed and live longer come as no surprise to longevity expert Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones. “If you garden, you’re getting some low-intensity physical activity most days, and you tend to work routinely.” Plus, says Dr. Bradley Willcox, a gerontologist at the University of Hawaii, “gardening gives you that something to get up for every day.”
TURN THE PAGE
“Older individuals, regardless of gender, health status, wealth or education, showed the survival advantage of reading books,” says Becca Levy, professor of epidemiology and psychology at the Yale School of Public Health. “We know that reading involves two cognitive processes that could [help in living a longer life]: the slow, deep immersion needed to connect to content, and promotion of empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence.”
Per the folks at Johns Hopkins Medicine: “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness and memory.” In fact, one study showed that going to gigs on a regular basis can help add a decade to your life!
BUST A MOVE
“Dancing is mainly linked to physical health benefits,” explains the British Heart Foundation. “But when you dance, you are moving different parts of your body in a coordinated way, and this activates several parts of the brain.” That’s always a plus in the fight against age-related diseases such as dementia.
According to experts at Henry Ford Health: “Studies show practicing yoga can help lower blood pressure, slow down heart rate, reduce stress and trigger the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain. So it’s no surprise yoga can help maximize your health and longevity.”