Hobbies can protect older people from depression, study finds

Credit: Unsplash+.

Most of us love our hobbies, whether it’s reading a good book, knitting, or playing chess.

But did you know that having a hobby can actually make you happier and healthier, especially if you’re over 65?

Researchers from University College London (UCL) looked into this and found that older people who enjoy hobbies are generally happier, healthier, and more satisfied with their lives.

And this isn’t just a one-country thing; it’s a trend that appears to be true across the globe.

What Did The Study Do?

Researchers wanted to figure out if hobbies really make older people happier and healthier or if it just seemed that way.

They looked at five big studies that had been going on for many years, covering people who were 65 years old and above.

These studies collected data from folks living in the United States, England, Japan, China, and 12 countries in Europe.

All in all, they checked out the answers and information from more than 93,000 people! They wanted to see if folks with hobbies felt better and were less likely to be depressed.

They also took into account things like whether someone was married, how much money they had, and if they were working or not.

So, Are Hobbies The Secret to Happiness?

Guess what? People with hobbies were generally doing better. They were happier, felt better about their health, and were more satisfied with their lives.

Also, the good effects of having a hobby seemed to last; people who had hobbies were less likely to feel down as time went on.

Dr. Karen Mak, the lead researcher, said hobbies might make us happy because they give us a sense of control and purpose.

They also help us feel like we’re good at something, which can be really important as we get older and may not be working anymore.

Hobbies Around The World

Interestingly, the benefits of having a hobby seemed to be true pretty much everywhere, from the United States to Europe to Japan. However, not everyone reported having a hobby.

For example, nearly all people in Denmark said they had a hobby, while less than half of people in China said the same.

The researchers think this might be because the Chinese survey only asked about social hobbies like being in a club, and not about individual hobbies like reading or painting.

Also, the study found that in countries where people generally live longer and say they’re happy, more people also had hobbies.

This makes the researchers think that maybe policymakers should encourage older people to take up hobbies, as a way to make their lives better.

Why Should You Care?

Why is this study important, you ask? Well, the world’s population is getting older, which means more and more people are reaching the age where they stop working and have more free time.

Finding ways to make these years happy and healthy is becoming more and more important. Encouraging older folks to pick up a hobby they love could be an easy and affordable way to do just that.

In simple terms, the message is clear: If you’re older and looking for a simple way to boost your happiness and health, picking up a hobby you enjoy might just be the ticket.

So go ahead, grab that book you’ve been meaning to read, or start that garden you’ve been thinking about. Your future self might thank you for it.

If you care about depression, please read studies about Levodopa, a Parkinson’s drug, may help depression linked to inflammation and findings of A new therapy might beat depression better than the current champ.

For more information about mental health, please see recent studies about how dairy foods may influence depression risk, and results showing Omega-3 fats may help reduce depression.

The research findings can be found in Nature Medicine.

Follow us on Twitter for more articles about this topic.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.