6 Leisure Activities that are Actually Good for You

The positive effects of exercise and health are well-documented. The correlation between staying active and staying healthy is a strong one. But if the idea of spending all your free time at the gym or hitting the pavement sounds like more of a chore than a luxury – you’re in luck. There are plenty of activities that lead to better health that don’t feel like work at all.

6 Leisure Activities that are Actually Good for You

Let’s take a look at 5 of them:

Sunbathing

While overexposure to the sun’s UV rays is dangerous, soaking in some sunshine is good for you. Sunlight is one of the strongest sources of natural Vitamin D which improves mood, boosts immunity, and regulates healthy levels of phosphorus and calcium absorption. Not sure how much sun you can safely take in? Answer this brief survey developed by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research.

Drinking wine

The phrase “everything in moderation” is vital to keep in mind with everything on this list, especially alcohol. Drinking one to two standard glasses of red wine every day can protect against heart disease, specifically in men over 40 and post-menopausal women. For everyone else, the same amount of wine consumption is an important source of antioxidants. Stay away from more than two glasses though, as it can actually have the reverse affect. The best wine choice? Cabernet sauvignon.

Bingo

Bingo is a lot of fun but did you know that playing it in-person or even playing online bingo has proven health benefits? A study of Alzheimer’s patients found slower mental decline in the patients who played it. The extended focus required for bingo makes a healthy brain activity and the social aspects keep dopamine levels high.

Laughing

Cueing up your favorite comedy or heading to watch a standup comedian is one of the best ways to relax because it inspires the greatest stress antidote of all: laughter. Fifteen minutes of laughter can burn up to 40 calories and lead to 1 to 4 pounds lost in a year. So go ahead and act a little silly from time to time – that laughter release is healthy.

Listening to music

Music has automatic mood boosting effects – and it exercises your brain at the same time. Studies have found that music listening stimulates every known area of the brain. So go ahead and indulge in your favorite playlist, or splurge on the tickets to see your favorite artist live. It’s good for you.

Sleeping in

Getting enough sleep is not a sign of laziness; it’s a health perk. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults receive at least 7 hours of sleep in a 24 hours period. When you don’t get enough sleep, the neurons in your brain can’t function the way they should and it leads to reduced memory function and lower productivity. So if you feel like the sheets are sucking you in, and your pillow is just too comfortable to leave, give yourself a few extra minutes of rest.

What do you do for relaxation that gives your health a boost?