Wood carving for the elderly
The art of woodworking is a popular one for many seniors all over the world. Taking a shapeless block of wood and turning it into something beautiful or practical is a reward on its own. Woodworking is a gift that keeps on giving, however. That’s right. When you use your craft, you’re getting more than a carving of your dog or a new homemade chair. No, the benefits of carving and crafting wood cut a little deeper than that.
The first benefit for your health is the exercise that you get while carving. If you’ve ever spent time woodworking, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. That satisfied ache in your muscles after a successful woodworking session is emblematic of a healthy workout. Unlike other modes of exercise, like running or lifting, carpentry is fairly low-impact. You can even often be seated. At the same time, you’re definitely exercising. In fact, general carpentry burns more than 100 calories per hour.
There are several advantages of woodworking as an exercise. For one, you can go at your own pace. There’s no time limit for carving or carpentry. If you start to get a little tired or achy, take a break. The ability to stop and start at your own will only bolsters the advantages of a low-impact exercise.
A major risk of an exercise you can start and stop is the temptation to not start back up again. Carpentry mitigates much of this risk, however, because it gives you a goal. Unlike a morning jog or a swim, a purpose is inherent in the hobby. Turn this block of wood into something else; something artful or useful. This goal provides an incentive and accountability that can make you more likely to complete and return to the exercise. So, with woodworking, you have an effective workout that won’t leave you hurting and one that you’ll want to return to.
Woodworking has been so effective at de-stressing that it’s been suggested for veterans and soldiers. The controlled, calming atmosphere is helpful for people who suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder. Woodworking is also effective for sufferers of depression since it’s a form of art therapy.
The creative aspect of carpentry is another benefit of the pastime. Chief among these is the mood boost that creative hobbies give you, especially the pride and positivity you get from creating something. This improved mental health can lead to a reduced stress level, improved immune system, and a brighter general disposition.
Furthermore, creativity promotes brain health, improving connectivity between the two hemispheres of the brain. Creative outlets may also be critical in healthy aging in the brain. Keeping mentally active, something creativity helps you do, can combat or prevent mental decline. One study found that seniors who crafted, like woodworking, were 45 percent less likely to develop mental impairment later in life. Specifically, some have even labeled woodworking a “whole-brain activity,” due to its mix of problem-solving and creativity.
As with any hobby, the most difficult step is getting started. Luckily, the internet is awash with simple woodworking projects and ideas for beginners. You can even find an instructional YouTube channel to give you inspiration and guidance while you’re still learning. There are a lot of DIY woodworking channels out there to choose from! You can also find a local woodworking class or group to interact with fellow interested seniors. With this many options, a world of creative possibilities is in front of you. All you have to do is get started!