How, and why, a hobby can bring joy to your life

May 14, 2023, 12:30 PM | Updated: May 15, 2023, 9:39 am




SALT LAKE CITY – One of the most common questions we tend to ask people to get to know them better is, “What do you like to do for fun?” Here’s another way to put it: Do you have a hobby that brings you joy?

In the latest Let’s Get Moving with Maria podcast episode, host Maria Shilaos spoke with Emma Parkhurst, USU Extension assistant professor in the Home and Community Department, to learn what counts as a hobby and why engaging in one—or even a few—brings us joy.

How do you define a hobby?

Some people love gardening for fun, while others think of it as work. Then does that make it a hobby?

“Think about what you enjoy—what brings you pleasure and is meaningful— and if you can do that regularly during your spare or leisure time, then it’s a hobby,” Parkhurst said.

Why are hobbies healthy for us?

There are many physical and mental health benefits that come with engaging in hobbies. For example, going on a walk or taking an exercise class can get people to move their bodies. Another example is art, which research has shown reduces stress significantly. You don’t even have to be good at it.

“It also enhances our overall well-being, so engaging in creative activities or those that bring us joy can lead to that improved sense of well-being that can have really long-lasting effects,” Parkhurst said.

To dig further into the physical benefits, it can even reduce our blood pressure and lower our heart rate.

“It can really just improve our focus… It can improve your social connection, which is really one of the highest markers we can use for having a healthy life,” Parkhurst said.

Listen to the full episode below to hear the rest!

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How, and why, a hobby can bring joy to your life