Scientific studies support the beneficial role of certain hobbies for health.

Few studies specifically analyze the role of hobbies, as a group, in health; most are in older people. One study in Japan found that hobbies in the elderly reduce mortality and improve functioning in daily life. Another in Japan also points out that hobbies can significantly protect against cardiovascular disease and stroke. Another shows that social activities, including hobbies, decrease mortality. A study on people over 65 indicates a lower risk of dementia in those who practice hobbies for at least one hour a day. Another finds women who have hobbies better cognitive function, physical activity, and life satisfaction.

There is some information about specific hobbies: In a study of older people, hobbies such as doing crosswords or puzzles, listening to music, or playing an instrument protect something against mood disorders, including depression. Chess may improve various mental abilities in children. Playing a musical instrument or singing in childhood can also improve multiple cognitive abilities with long-lasting effects. Singing and listening to music can somewhat enhance specific cognitive skills in people with early-stage dementia. There is a study where they say, following cases of twins, that those who play an instrument suffer less dementia in the future. Reading books (not newspapers or magazines) has several benefits, such as more extraordinary cognitive ability, especially vocabulary, reasoning, and concentration, and possible development of emotional intelligence. It has been shown to reduce mortality. Although it has been wanted to relate “mental training” with the prevention of deterioration in older people, and there are data that support it, this has not been fully proven. Videogames seem to improve some abilities, such as attention and control, in older people. It has also been pointed out that “exergames” (in English, a mixture of exercise, exercise, and games, games: video games in which the player performs physical actions) can improve cardiovascular risk indices, balance, and mood. Golf, one of the most real hobbies, can reduce mortality.

Relaxation, including yoga, which can be taken up as a hobby, has been shown to help somewhat with depression and possibly anxiety. Home gardening can improve survival in people with reduced mobility and reduce mortality in the elderly. Taichi in women can improve balance and tension. Volunteering for the elderly can favor functionality, social capacity, cognitive ability, and well-being and reduce depression and mortality.

Sometimes hobbies can help with disease management, like video games controlling chronic diseases in children and young people.

The probably healthiest hobbies are:

• Those related to physical exercise
• Those related to relaxation
• Play an instrument
• Gardening
• Regularly attend cultural events (music, cinema, exhibitions, etc.)
• Chess
• Reading


Boredom can be detrimental to health.

A greater possibility of dying young has been described in those with a tendency to boredom. Boredom causes a greater consumption of food, which is more harmful than healthy and can also favor the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs in young people. Boredom has been related to the presence of various symptoms, depression, and maybe a sign of its onset. It is also possible that there is a relationship between the tendency to boredom and the decline in mental capacity in older people.


Activities that consist of physical exercise have known risks, such as traumatic or overuse injuries or physical problems in ill-prepared or ill people. It has also been seen that the abuse of physical exercise can cause mood changes.

The negative effect of children and adolescents abusing computer games or video games is a debated topic. On the one hand, they can alter their sense of reality and social contact and, on the other hand, take up time that should be devoted to more educational and healthy activities such as study or physical activity, which can favor a harmful sedentary lifestyle, sleep disorders and a tendency to obesity. Parents and educators must monitor and control the possibility of abuse of this type of game.

Other activities can be considered hobbies, such as gambling, Internet use, and shopping, which can go from being a simple distraction to a pathological addiction. On the other hand, it must be taken into account that hobbies have a tremendous psychological element, and different personalities are reflected in them, corresponding consequences, such as obsessive, compulsive, addictive, or anxious practice.

Finally, remember that a hobby carried out with excessive intensity or enthusiasm can cause stress for various reasons.


Many hobbies, under the right circumstances, can produce the following benefits:
– Improve the state of physical and mental health
– Help prevent various diseases
– Improve the control of some diseases
– Improve physical and mental abilities
– Improve physical and mental development in children
– Help against deterioration due to aging
– Help combat a sedentary lifestyle and boredom, which can be detrimental to health

But, when practicing a hobby, you also have to assess the risks, which is more evident in some hobbies than others.

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