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Calming Activities May Decrease Stress, Improve Well-Being

Calming Activities May Decrease Stress, Improve Well-Being

Here at The Michael J. Fox Foundation, we’ve talked about the benefits exercise may have on Parkinson’s symptoms and a person’s overall health. But what about activities we enjoy doing that aren’t quite as rigorous? Painting, sewing or even listening to music can help us escape from our day-to-day routine, but a recent study has shown it may impact our health and well-being more than we realize.

This week, NPR’s health blog “Shots” discussed findings from a new study that looked at how the body reacts to leisure activities. The study found that all participants reported reduced stress and had a lower heart rate during leisure activities, as compared to parts of the day they weren’t involved in leisure. Matthew Zawadzki, an assistant professor of psychology with the University of California who worked on the study was quoted:

“We’re still talking about the short term, but there was a definite carryover effect later in the day. And if we start thinking about the beneficial carryover day after day, year after year, it starts to make sense how leisure can help improve health in the long term.”

For some people living with Parkinson’s, this may be good news as it may be more difficult to take on an intense exercise regimen. There could be opportunity to de-stress, relax and recharge simply by reading a good book.

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