Keep Fit and Stay Sharp with Woodworking
Lumber. When you hear that word, what’s the first image that pops into your head? Probably burly lumberjacks in the wilderness, wearing flannel and hefting axes, chopping down huge trees and hauling the logs to the mill.
Woodworking. That’s what happens after, and you’ll probably visualize those same woodworkers at the mill working away at the harvested logs using huge saws. Turning that huge pile of timber into chairs, tables and cabins.
Okay, that’s a bit too stereotypical. Still, these fields are usually associated with tough, gritty outdoorsy individuals doing Hard Things. But the reality is that woodworking’s appeal extends beyond these stereotypes. We’ve talked about how girls with power tools are finding empowerment through the craft. Woodworking can change lives and that means it is for everyone.
And it turns out some of those who can benefit most from woodworking are seniors, the elderly who keep healthy and sharp with the hobby.
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Woodworking is a gift. You take a piece of wood or lumber and through skillful tool use it’s transformed into a beautiful or useful creation, or both. The very process itself is beneficial, keeping the mind alert and the body active. And the results are, of course, useful. Whether it’s carving wooden toy for one’s grandchild or making a comfy chair, there’s nothing like the satisfaction of finishing a project and gifting it to the recipient.
Carving, measuring, using the various tools, and even just carrying the blocks of wood or getting supplies from the lumber supplier, each step of woodworking is quite a workout. At the end of the day you’re going to work up a sweat. At the same time, unlike jogging or lifting weights, woodworking doesn’t stress the body too much. It’s low-impact and you can even do it while being seated most of the time. So it’s very accessible even for those who don’t have full mobility. According to CalorieLab carpentry burns 136 calories per hour.
Relaxing Yet Mentally Stimulating
With this hobby, you’re not keeping up with the group or following a coach. You set your own pace, and this is dictated by a sense of purpose in completing the project and seeing the finished product. This also means you have a goal and will keep at it day in and day out. Unlike normal exercises that are easier to quit because they aren’t mentally engaging.
So as you work at your own pace, there’s a quiet and contemplative effect:
“The findings of this research established that there were six common therapeutic benefits of woodcarving that were shared by all the participants to some degree. For some participants woodcarving can be a very spiritual and meditative practice, for others it is simply a way to relax and create something aesthetically pleasing with their own two hands.”
At the same time, you’re not dozing off at the wheel. Woodworking is quite physical, but carving a work of art or even a simple cabinet still involves mental planning and more than a little creative flourish. This matters a lot for seniors, and everyone in general for that matter, since creativity improves mental health and awareness.
Woodworking can be a fulfilling and healthy pastime for seniors. It helps them maintain and develop skills, as well as physical and mental capabilities. With this, they’re avoiding stagnation and, worse yet, deterioration – very real concerns in old age. And, ultimately, woodworking is a really fun activity that’s worthwhile.