Finding A Hobby You Love Could Be The Key To Preventing Disease

by Gillian Fuller

Indulging in hobbies won't only keep the boredom away, according to a new study, it may even keep disease away.

Matthew Zawadzki, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Merced, analyzed the heart rates and stress levels of 115 individuals aged 20-80 throughout the day in an effort to determine what activities produce the least amount stress. Participants were also asked to keep a diary, tracking their activities and their feelings while doing those activities.

Results indicated that all individuals had both lower stress levels (by 34 percent) and lower heart rates (by 3 percent) when participating in a hobby or leisure activity.

In addition, when indulging in a hobby, participants were, on average, 18 percent happier than when they were, for example, working at a job -- and these effects tended to remain for several hours after completing the leisure activity.

Zawadzki said,

We're still talking about the short term, but there was a definite carryover effect later in the day. And if we start thinking about that beneficial carryover effect day after day, year after year, it starts to make sense how leisure can help improve health in the long term.

It should be noted that stress is one of the leading causes of preventable disease in the US, and it's considered a major factor in the development of heart disease, high blood pressure and even hormone imbalance.

Zawadzki concluded,

The more we can prevent this overworked state, the less of a load it builds up.

Of course, if you do something you truly love for a living, you're already two steps ahead of the rest of us.

But if you don't, make sure to take some time for yourself every day -- your health may depend on it.

Citations: Relaxing Hobbies Doing What You Love As Important For Your Health As Exercise (Medical Daily )