Look up the word "hobby" in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, and you will find the definition as "a pursuit outside one's regular occupation engaged in especially for relaxation."
Since they are relaxing activities, hobbies are usually enjoyable. Some people find joy in craftwork, bird watching, sports, going to flea markets, walking in the park, or playing cards.
The joy may help people live healthier and recover better from illness. For one thing, taking part in hobbies can burn calories, more so than just sitting in front of the TV.
In a study of people who had undergone surgery, Jenkins found that people who were involved in hobbies before their operation had better recovery six months later, compared with people who did not have hobbies.
The participants with hobbies tended to have more drive and interest in things and other people, says Jenkins. "It was a more active orientation to life."