It's easy to assume that skills like juggling are silly or impractical. However, some studies have shown that juggling actually improves concentration, dexterity, and even helps relieve stress.
Picture: Luciano Meirelles/Flickr
It isn't new research by any means, but studies from Oxford University and many others showed that 30 minutes of juggling a day resulting in noticeable changes to the white matter of the brain after six weeks:
Juggler, postgraduate student at FMRIB, and first author on the paper, Jan Scholz, said: ‘We challenged half of the volunteers to learn to do something entirely new. After six weeks of juggling training, we saw changes in the white matter of this group compared to the others who had received no training. The changes were in regions of the brain which are involved in reaching and grasping in the periphery of vision, so that seems to make a lot of sense.’
If juggling isn't your thing, that's OK (though this tutorial can help get you started if you want to learn). Other skills could have their own benefits, even if they aren't readily apparent. The important takeaway is that even if a skill seems "useless," it can have other positive effects on your brain. Just keep that in mind the next time you're considering giving up a hobby because it isn't "practical". Hit the source link below for more info on the study.