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Improving Mental Through Physical Activity

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Your brain has the power to hold way more information than it currently has stored. Don’t be afraid to use it to teach yourself a new skill or to have fun with friends while learning how to improve (or simply move and groove). At a loss for ideas? Here are a few based on different pre-existing interests:

If you like hiking

If you like trudging through the forest, climbing mountains, and settling in for a million-dollar view, you might also like birdwatching. Contrary to popular belief, birdwatching is not simply watching ducks and geese parade along the water’s edge. It offers you the opportunity to witness animals in their natural habitat while learning about the life that surrounds you. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers a host of online birding classes that can help you learn to identify different types of waterfowl and pick out various bird songs.

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If you have an ear for good music

Listening to music is one of the most popular pastimes in every culture. If you like to listen, consider learning how to make your own beautiful music. Grab a group of friends and check out your local music and arts center to inquire about classes. As they say, music soothes the savage soul. As cliché as it sounds, the statement has tons of merit. Music has been proven to lower stress levels and, according to Neuroscience News, can enhance your brain’s learning capabilities.

If you enjoy gardening

There is something refreshing about reaping your own fruits and vegetables, but if you’re simply eating them as-is, you’re missing half the fun. Cooking is an exceptional hobby that can open the door to benefits that include better health and an enhanced awareness of food and nutrition. Cooking classes are readily available online and in most cities.

If you have a knack for all things crafty

Maybe they call you the Princess of Pinterest or the King of Tinkering. Whatever your craft craze, you might just have the talent and ability to become an accomplished artist. Drawing is another great hobby that lets you combine things you already love with an activity that powers the brain.

If you like working out

The rush of endorphins you feel after a hot and heavy session at the gym can also be accomplished via more graceful means. In addition to working out the body, dance offers mental health benefits, including lowering anxiety levels and providing an opportunity for therapeutic self-expression. You don’t have to have Mark Wahlberg’s pre-Transformers skills to enjoy it. Just like drawing, dance is an art form that does not have to subscribe to specific rules. Take the time to learn a few basic moves along with safety procedures. Doing so will lay the foundation for a healthy hobby that may even extend your life.

These and other hobbies do more than teach skills and offer recreational opportunities. They give your brain a chance to shift its focus from the tedium that is life so that it may recharge and refresh. Hobbies that promote physical activity are especially helpful in relieving stress and depression, while creative hobbies, such as baking, photography, and writing, are relaxing. Many addiction recovery therapists actually recommend picking up a new hobby as a positive mental health practice that can aid in maintaining sobriety.

No matter what you like, there are always new things to learn that will capture your attention. Having a hobby or two (or three) can keep you healthy and happy so that you can enjoy each and every day.

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