6 Fitness-Oriented Hobbies that You Can Start Right Now
More and more people are taking up hobbies that get them outside, raise their heart rate, and promote exercise without feeling like a “traditional workout”. A fitness-oriented hobby can even be an easy first step to kick-off an overall healthy lifestyle.
Sometimes you may want to try a new fitness hobby without committing to a lot of equipment and expense. Many gyms and fitness resorts offer these activities and more. By sampling a fitness activity in a controlled environment like this, you can explore many new hobbies to find out “what sticks”, and what motivates you to keep going.
For young adults looking to try out new fitness hobbies, many activities and sports are available at kids fitness camps, where specially trained staff members help children learn to exercise in fun and novel ways.
Six of the best fitness hobbies are:
In this post, we explore these six fitness-oriented hobbies, and ways to get started with them at home or while on-the-go.
Have you noticed how many new climbing gyms are opening up all across the country? America has fallen in love with rock climbing, and climbing gyms offer this hobby to people everywhere, not just those living near the mountains.
Inside or outside, climbing is a great way to challenge yourself both physically and mentally. You can build endurance and improve cardiovascular health with this hobby, and the exhaustion you feel from pushing yourself is rewarded by the pride you will feel in reaching the top.
Most climbing gyms (and some outdoor ranges) offer courses and routes for beginners, so you’ll find help even if you don’t know where to start. And if you don’t have all the safety equipment, don’t worry; you can typically rent the equipment from these places. You’ll find that your first time climbing can wear you out, but with practice, you’ll quickly grow your endurance and stamina to take on longer or more intense climbs.
Swimming is one of the best hobbies for fitness. It’s a great way to exercise your whole body, as you will use every part of it to propel yourself through the water. It’s also a major calorie-burning exercise—in fact, some Olympians have to eat up to 12,000 calories per day to make up for all of the calories burned during training and competition.
But you don’t have to be an Olympic athlete to get the fitness benefit of swimming; most communities have at least one pool nearby for lap swimming or aquatic classes. It’s easy to get started—just find your nearest pool and ask about their offerings for instructed swimming or free-swim.
Swimming also has clear goal posts you can use to measure your success. With a fitness tracker (or even just a notepad in your locker), you can track your laps or total time spent swimming, and work to push yourself past that mark next time.
Swimming is also a great way to stay fit while traveling; many hotels, resorts, and camps offer swimming pools free-of-charge, for relaxing with the family or for fitness.
Running & Jogging
Running might be the easiest fitness hobby to begin; the only barrier to entry is a pair of good shoes and some space to run. It’s estimated that almost 60 million people in the United States go running or jogging as a hobby, so if motivation is your biggest hurdle, ask around—you probably already have a friend or family member that is already running, and exercise is always easier with a partner.
Many people prefer to run outside, while others would rather have the solitude of a treadmill or privacy of an indoor track. If you’re looking to begin running, try a few different environments to see what type of runner you are. Your location may also help determine the best place for you to run; cold and snowy environments may push runners indoors, or crowded city streets may mean that you will be running at a nearby park or track.
Running and jogging are great ways to build general endurance and enhance cardiovascular health. Just increasing your heart rate—even for a short time—will help put you on a path to better health. Don’t worry about setting any records right away; it doesn’t matter how many minutes it takes you to run a mile, it just matters that you are doing it. Get started today, and your times will naturally improve with practice and repetition.
Running is another great hobby to take with you when you travel. Ask the staff at your hotel or resort about the best running path nearby, so you can get healthy while exploring a new area at the same time.
Admittedly, mountain biking is a fitness hobby that’s a little bit tougher to get started with. You’ll need the right gear (including a mountain bike and safety equipment) as well as good trails nearby. However, mountain bikers will tell you that if you put in the effort the payoff is huge, both in terms of exercise and scenic views.
Mountain biking will help you exercise a wide variety of muscle groups. It’s not just pedaling, it’s also about maintaining balance and controlling the bike. On the trail, you’ll get a much different workout experience than sitting on a bike in the gym.
This fitness hobby will also keep you mentally sharp, as you’ll have to keep your attention to read trails and navigate tight turns and obstacles along your route.
If you don’t live near good mountain biking trails, you’re in luck. If you want to try out this hobby when you travel, many locations with mountain bike paths have rental shops nearby. These places will let you rent both a bike and safety equipment for the day (or longer), and will have resources for guided tours or maps of the best nearby trails.
When looking at this list, this one may seem like an outlier at first glance. Is yoga really considered a fitness hobby?
While yoga might not look strenuous from a distance, it’s actually a fantastic whole-body workout. (See 5 Reasons to Do Yoga to Improve Your Health.) There are many different types of yoga, from the more meditative styles of restorative yoga to the more intense workouts of Bikram or Vinyasa yoga. Depending on which type of yoga you choose and what poses you are doing, expect to burn anywhere from 160 to 600 calories in a one-hour class.
In addition to the physical benefits, yoga also has significant mental benefits as well. Yoga classes can help you focus on your breathing and awareness, and help improve concentration and reduce anxiety and stress. These reasons alone make it a fantastic hobby to consider in our busy world today.
Yoga is a fast-growing hobby—one study showed that the practice has grown by over 50% in four years—so now it’s easier than ever to get started. Search for nearby gyms or yoga studios; most will offer beginner classes and let you try out this hobby before making a larger commitment. Or if you want to try it while traveling, seek out those resorts and spas that offer yoga classes as part of their program. All you need to get started with yoga is a comfortable outfit, a foam mat, and the willingness to try something new.
In his book about the Appalachian Trail, Bill Bryson says about hiking:
“There is no point in hurrying because you are not actually going anywhere. However far or long you plod, you are always in the same place: in the woods.”
Hiking is one of the best fitness hobbies to connect with nature. According to the American Hiking Society, more than 35 million Americans go hiking every year, to get healthy and to take in the scenic views.
And you don’t need to be hiking the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail to make the most of this activity; there are hundreds of trails across the country that are less than a mile long. Hiking lets you set the difficulty of your workout by picking the right trail, and selecting the length and terrain you want to tackle.
It’s easy to get started with hiking! All you need is a good pair of hiking boots, and plenty of water. Nearly anywhere you live, you’re no more than a short drive away from a hiking trail. Many maintained trails (such as those at state and national parks) have clearly marked pathways and maps available, so hiking rookies should start with those routes. As you gain endurance and confidence on the trails, you can start to tackle some of the more rugged paths that nature has to offer.
Hiking is also an easy fitness hobby to take with you when you travel. If you can fit your hiking boots in a suitcase, you can go hiking on vacation. Some travelers even visit fitness resorts specifically for their guided hikes and nearby trails, to improve their level of fitness and experience beautiful scenery along the way.
One of the biggest reasons people cite for not exercising is that it’s not enjoyable. Well, the truth may just be that you haven’t found the right type of exercise for you. Explore these six fitness hobbies and find the one that matches your style.
Working out doesn’t have to feel like work. By picking the right activity for you, you can get healthy while having fun at the same time.