The 6 Healthiest Hobbies That Are Making a Comeback
“The X-Files,” ’90s fashion, a Clinton running for the White House -- everything old is new again. And that goes for hobbies as well, with activities like coloring books and Rollerblading back in vogue. “Having a hobby can allow you to enter a ‘flow’ state where you’re challenged enough, but not overchallenged,” says women’s business coach Jennifer Racioppi. “Over time, this rewires neural pathways in the brain and helps you meet everyday challenges with resilience.” Try one of these healthy hobbies to help you meet like-minded people, recharge and stay fit.
Make like Xanthippe from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”: Grab your waterproof birding journal, get outside and see if you can spot a thick-billed murre. Not to be confused with bird-watching -- where you sit back and watch birds, being about as active as you are when watching Netflix -- birding involves going to a location where you know there will be specific species and walking around trying to spot them. So you actually get some exercise too. Download the National Audubon Society’s free identification app, then head to a local park.
It doesn’t matter if you prefer crosswords, word searches, sudoku or jigsaw puzzles: All of these can send you into a meditative state. That’s why Carly Chaikin of “Mr. Robot” does jigsaw puzzles. If you want to channel her, experts recommend sorting out the border pieces first, then grouping all the remaining pieces by color. For a 1,000-piece puzzle, that should alone should take you about an hour, according to Jigthings.com. But you may want to start with a 500-piece puzzle first. Doubling the number of pieces quadruples the difficulty.
Remember all the fun you had inline skating as a kid? Now you can do it without being weighed down with too much padding (thanks, mom). Rollerblading burns almost 550 calories per hour for a 160-pound person, and it’s lower impact than running, so your knees will be happy. At the very least, be sure to wear a helmet and wrist guards, says Tom Hyser, marketing manager for Rollerblade. Up to one-third of serious inline skating injuries could be eliminated by sporting these two pieces of safety gear, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.
Grab some fabric and thread. Making art may increase connectivity between parts of your brain associated with introspection, self-awareness and memory, according to a study in PLOS ONE. Embroidery is a great craft to pick because you don’t need a ton of supplies, which means it’s one of the cheaper arts you can practice ($20 to $30 to start, tops). Plus, you can use the finished product to decorate your home or give it to someone as a gift.
5. High-Tech Scavenger Hunts
Forget Pokemon GO. You can be just as active (or more so) and have more fun with any of the multitude of scavenger-hunt apps that are coming out. Some require you to solve a clue, snap a selfie or check in at a location to score points. Many keep a leaderboard so you have incentive to keep getting out there. You can also go all-out and create your own hunts, which is great for parties or team-building activities. Try: Stray Boots (free, iPhone, Android), Klikaklu ($4.99 for up to 10 players, iPhone) and Munzee (free, iPhone, Android).
Although camera phones are super high quality, put the phone down and grab a real camera--that is, a film or digital SLR (single-lens reflex) camera. When you have to figure out the shutter speed, ISO and aperture on your own, you’re forced to slow down in order to get the best shot -- and to really think about what that “best shot” is. Take photos outdoors as much as possible: In one study, hikers who spent four days in nature on a digital detox improved performance on a creativity problem-solving task by 50 percent.
What Do YOU Think?
What's your favorite healthy hobby? Do you enjoy any of these hobbies? What hobby have you always wanted to try? Let us know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
- Alita Ong/Stocksy.com