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How physical hobbies can help with mental health issues

Written by Fiona

July 01 2024

When it comes to overcoming mental health challenges and addiction, traditional talk therapy and medication are often the go-to approaches. However, an increasing body of research suggests that physical hobbies can play a vital role in the recovery process. By incorporating physical activities into their daily routine, individuals can experience significant improvements in their mental and emotional well-being, ultimately paving the way for a more successful recovery.

Activities, such as yoga and gardening, can help to relive mental health issues.

Science behind physical bobbies and recovery

Exercise has long been recognised as a natural mood booster and its benefits extend far beyond the realm of physical health. Regular physical activity has been shown to:

  • Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Enhance cognitive function and concentration
  • Boost self-esteem and confidence
  • Decrease cravings for addictive substances.

Physical hobbies, in particular, offer a unique set of benefits. By providing a sense of purpose and accomplishment, they can help individuals develop a more positive self-image, which is essential for overcoming addiction and mental health challenges.

Physical hobbies for mental health and addiction recovery

  • Yoga and Mindfulness: Yoga combines physical movement with mindfulness techniques, helping individuals develop greater self-awareness and emotional regulation. Many yoga styles, such as Kundalini and Hatha, focus on breathwork, meditation and relaxation, making them ideal for those struggling with anxiety and stress.
  • Team Sports: Joining a recreational sports team can provide a sense of community and accountability, which are crucial for individuals in recovery. Team sports like soccer, basketball, and volleyball offer a healthy outlet for emotions, while promoting social connections and camaraderie.
  • Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Nature-based activities like hiking, camping and kayaking offer a unique opportunity to disconnect from the stresses of daily life and reconnect with the natural world. These activities can help individuals develop a greater sense of perspective and calm.
  • Dance and Movement: Dance-based activities like Zumba, hip-hop and contemporary dance provide an outlet for emotional expression, while improving coordination, balance, and overall physical fitness.
  • Gardening and Horticulture: Gardening has been shown to have a profound impact on mental health, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety while promoting a sense of purpose and responsibility.
Gardening is beneficial for physical and mental health.

Physical health therapy: A holistic approach

Physical health therapy, also known as physiotherapy, plays a critical role in the recovery process. By addressing underlying physical health issues, individuals can better manage their mental health and addiction. Physical health therapy can help:

  • Reduce chronic pain and inflammation
  • Improve sleep quality
  • Enhance mobility and flexibility
  • Boost energy levels and overall physical fitness.


Physical hobbies offer a powerful tool in the fight against mental health challenges and addiction. By incorporating activities like yoga, team sports, hiking, dance, and gardening into their daily routine, individuals can experience significant improvements in their mental and emotional well-being. When combined with physical health therapy, these activities can provide a holistic approach to recovery, helping individuals overcome the physical and emotional barriers that often accompany addiction and mental health challenges.

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