By Matt Evans
Ever feel like you need a break? Us, too. Unfortunately, many of our hobbies can actually elevate our stress levels, rather than serve to relax us. If we're looking to lower our heart rates and chill out after a long day of work, it's useful to know what's going to serve our purpose – along with knowing which of our hobbies are likely to stress us out further.
Community website diys.com has analysed the data of 357 participants aged between 20 and 30 years to find out how heart rates and stress levels fared during the undertaking of different activities.
The most stressful activity was considered to be cycling, which was found to elevate participant's heart rates by up to 118% over its normal count. Only 29% of respondents labelled it as a relaxing hobby.
However, although biking may be exhilarating in the moment, it does have its stress-beating credentials. Aerobic exercise releases endorphins, chemicals in the brain which wards off pain and encourages pleasure receptors. Exercise also has been found to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
The most relaxing hobby was found to be knitting, which can lower your resting heart rate to 18.75%. It was among the top five most relaxing hobbies: knitting, fishing, blogging, calligraphy, and painting.
These sedentary hobbies, in which you're not staring at a screen absorbing sleep-obstructing blue light. all help you to destress, but knitting in particular has uniquely calming benefits. A 2007 study conducted by Harvard Medical School’s Mind and Body Institute found that knitting slows your heartbeat by approximately 11 beats per minute, inducing a calm state very similar to that of yoga.
Struggling to separate yourself from the daily grind? Stick on some relaxing music, grab a cup tea and try learning to knit for the ultimate detox.
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Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and Channel Editor at Fit&Well. He's previously written for titles like Men's Health and Red Bull, and covers all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen kickboxer and runner. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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