Most adults will inevitably face restrictions in leisure activities or hobbies of choice as they age. To improve our quality of life as we grow older, an understanding of how new and different hobbies can help improve the standard of living is helpful.

A study conducted out of Geriatrics and Gerontology International compared passive and active leisure activities with life satisfaction in older adults. The study aimed to determine if a relationship exists between the frequency of participation in passive and active leisure activities and what effect participation in these activities could have on the life satisfaction levels of adults age 60 to 95.

The study first established the difference between active and passive hobbies. The word ‘Active’ may sound aggressive, but active hobbies do not need to be physically strenuous. Instead, active hobbies represent activities like joining a club or service organizations, volunteering, playing an instrument, or DIY projects. Passive hobbies include activities like watching television, playing video games, or reading books. Active hobbies involve creating, sharing, contributing to the lives of others, or developing skills, while a passive hobby does not involve interaction with others or widening your skillset. The results of the study show that individuals who have a high frequency of participation in active hobbies or leisure activities are more likely to score higher on the Life Satisfaction Index.

With participation in active leisure activities being a statistically safe and significant predictor of our life satisfaction, it’s important to look at our own activities to ensure we live a satisfying life as we age. This is not to say that passive hobbies have no place in our lives; in fact, quite the opposite. Passive hobbies have a host of benefits—watching a movie or a television series and discussing the show or movie with your colleagues or friends can help contribute to life satisfaction through social interaction.

Take inventory of your own life and ask, “Where do I spend my time?” “What do I participate in?”. If you notice passive hobbies take up the vast majority of your time, try experimenting with something active. Learn an instrument, pick up a paintbrush, or take up gardening. Reach out to your friends or family to see what active hobbies they enjoy. If we don’t take the time to develop new interests now, we risk being unsatisfied with life when we grow older.