Retirement is the perfect time to explore new hobbies and interests. Some seniors golf, some take up knitting, some pursue a dream they had in their younger years. For those who enjoy working with their hands, there are few better or more beneficial hobbies than woodworking for seniors.
Woodworking, along with other hands-on crafting hobbies, is considered a “whole-brain activity.” Our brains are composed of four parts, each with complex networks that control specific functions. The “left” brain is responsible for analytical, logical and organizational thinking. The “right” brain controls emotional, creative and sensory-based thought. The ”back” brain, known as the cerebral mode, is where the left logical side and right holistic side meet. The “front” brain, known as the limbic mode, is likewise where organizational and emotional thought converge. When we view art, have conversations, feel emotions, or solve a math equation, specific brain activity is engaged. Woodworking engages all four parts of the brain simultaneously. And it makes sense – woodworkers employ intense visual focus and spatial reasoning, rely on steady hand-eye coordination, use senses like touch and kinesthesia (muscle feedback), creatively think about the design, calculate measurements, and are continuously problem-solving.
There are several studies concluding that the more connected different parts of your brain are, the healthier your brain is. By doing a whole-brain activity like woodworking, you’re essentially strengthening connections between parts of your brain, similar to how lifting weights builds muscle tissue. So, it can certainly be said that woodworking for seniors is a highly beneficial exercise for brain health – keeping neurological wiring functioning efficiently and reducing the risk of dementia and other cognitive issues as you age.
In addition to keeping your brain physiologically healthy, woodworking and other creative crafting hobbies have many mental health benefits. Working with your hands is proven to release serotonin, the chemical in your brain responsible for all happy feelings. It also reduces stress by acting as a creative outlet for all your frustrations. Perhaps the most impactful benefit of woodworking for seniors is a sense of accomplishment. There’s nothing like creating something with your own two hands from nothing. Studies have even shown that engaging in a hands-on hobby like woodworking significantly boosts self-esteem and personal confidence, leading to a happier life and improved mental health.
Start Small, Think Big
All too often, people view woodworking as an artisan-only endeavor, or a hobby only men can do. Something that requires a great deal of skill, knowledge, and equipment that takes real masculinity. In reality, woodworking can be a fairly simple hobby that anyone can fall in love with. There are a wide variety of woodworking projects for seniors. With just a few power tools and some small pieces of lumber, you can create simple woodworking pieces like:
- A handy cup-holding sofa sleeve
- A simple, minimalist nightstand
- A useful cutting board or serving tray
- A neat foldable laptop desk
- A modern coffee table
- A set of simple picture holders
And these are just the beginning. The more you woodwork, the more you learn, the grander your projects can become. One of the best things about woodworking is that it’s a hobby that anyone can both enjoy and benefit from. Take it from two Oak Trace residents, Arlee Bennett and Mandy Stewart, who unexpectedly found a new lifelong love in woodworking.
“It’s incredible if you just sit and think about it, you can take any object and turn it into something else.” – Mandy Stewart
“It’s a great diversion in terms of something totally different to do, and you’re not just sitting in your house. We stay very, very busy just doing things we love to do.” – Arlee Bennet
Every piece that Arlee and Mandy create is gifted to make their community more beautiful. As generous as these two up and coming woodworkers are, they’ve received so much more in the form of a fulfilling new passion.
Why Woodworkers Love Oak Trace
Not only do we have a fully equipped woodworking shop at Oak Trace, but a wide array of creative, stimulating activities to find a retirement hobby that’s perfect for you. It’s one of the reasons seniors who crave new experiences make their home here. From wellness programs to social events to premium amenities, we’re committed to ensuring the next stage of your life is the best one yet. If you’d like to learn more about the lifestyles at Oak Trace, call us at 1.888.679.2568 or fill out the form on this page.