An international study has suggested that having a hobby can give older people a greater purpose later on in life, which could have a positive impact on their health. 1
The study, which was carried out by a combination of British and US universities, found that those who reported a greater sense of purpose in life were generally healthier and lived for longer than those who claimed to have little purpose.
The study could not prove hobbies directly affect your chances of living for longer however, especially with other more recognised causes of ill health to be considered too. That said, it did add to the link between health and mental wellbeing.
The study found that the relationship appeared to go both ways, with unhappy people developing illnesses, while ill people could become unhappy. The latter was certainly found to be prevalent amongst those with typical ageing illnesses, such as heart disease and arthritis.
This study was interesting, and it does back up the importance of us remaining both physically and mentally active as we age. Eating well and having a healthy lifestyle is also important, as is keeping up social activities and interactions.
1 Steptoe A, Deaton A, Stone AA. Subjective wellbeing, health, and ageing. The Lancet. Published online November 6 2014
How you can add years to your life: Major lifestyle changes can combat killer diseases. Daily Express, November 6 2014
Pensioners with sense of purpose live two years longer than cynics. The Daily Telegraph, November 6 2014
Happiness 'dips in midlife in the affluent West'. BBC News, November 6 2014
Here's Where People Are Happiest Growing Old. Time, November 5 2014