A Wall Street Journal article last year talked about why hobbies are so important in retirement. I have many interests and believe I will not have a problem staying busy when I retire one day, but I was interested in seeing what they had to say, because hobbies are important at all times.
Work takes up a huge percentage of our lifetimes, and without other activities, life is far less interesting.
The article cites a study “which found that having a hobby led to improvements in older individuals’ cognitive performance and neural efficiency,” and another “showing that hobbies were associated with reduced risks of cardiovascular disease—especially strokes—in participants ages 40 to 69,” thus, the benefits of hobbies are not just for retirees.
Yet another study, led by Carolyn Adams-Price, a psychology professor at Mississippi State University, showed that, “Benefits gained through hobbies…include a sense of identity and recognition from others; mastery of a skill or topic; and a feeling of calming and spirituality.”
“Making things and collecting things are perhaps what many people imagine when they think of hobbies.” But, Dr. Adams-Price defines serious hobbies as “any activity that someone spends a lot of time on over a period of months or years”. “If you took up pickleball and were really serious about it, that’s a hobby,” she says, and “Volunteering and community service are viable options for retirees who don’t see themselves as makers or collectors.”
“Finding a hobby, social group or community effort to support may be a challenge for some retirees, especially those who were so focused on their work that they didn’t develop outside interests,” which is another reason to develop interests outside of your career at as early an age as you can. I hope you will.