Healthy Hobbies Beyond Fitness

A few years ago, had a goal written on my yearly Goals List to “develop an active hobby.”

I had long ago decided that I was not, and never would be, the kind of person who would work out at the gym. Lo and behold how things change. But back then, I knew the only way I was going to increase my fitness was to find something that I truly loved doing – a hobby, that just so happened to be active.

Up to this point, my hobbies included reading and watching movies, both decidedly inactive. And while I did eventually become the kind of person who runs and goes to the gym (thanks to an obsessive love for Body Pump classes), it’s still important to have healthy hobbies beyond your workouts.

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For the Sports Enthusiast

Love sports? I happen to be a huge sports fan – with a heavy emphasis on the FAN. I’ve never played a sport in my life and actually find the idea kind of terrifying. Stand up in front of everyone and try to hit a moving ball with a bat? That’s pretty much my worst nightmare. But I know there are other (arguably more normal) people out there who love playing sports – and joining a “fun league” for softball, basketball, even dodgeball is a great way to get to know new people and to incorporate activity at the same time. I know a lot of companies sponsor teams for their employees so that’s a great option to get fit and network with co-workers.

If you’re looking for something a little less competitive (which is where I usually land), practicing tennis with a friend, hitting up a driving range, or going bowling are all wonderful active alternatives to sitting on the couch, or embarrassing yourself (read: myself) with a bat.

For the Adventure-Seeker

I feel like there I no shortage of new fitness crazes these days to satisfy everyone’s tastes. The latest one that I’m really excited to try is Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUPing – awesome abbreviation). I think SUP classes are popping up in most places that have any sort of water nearby – and here in DC they even have yoga and fitness classes that are held on a SUP board. I also recently saw on another blog (based in California) that they took a class at a trampoline gym. Seriously – a gym filled with trampolines. It looked incredible, and as soon as I find one nearby I definitely want to try it!

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There is also no shortage of fun runs to choose from. Fun runs (specifically the Color Run) are what first started me towards running. I also recently ran a 5k called The Electric Run which is like a club/rave effect throughout the course. I swear I can’t go the week without seeing 5 different fun runs, mud runs, obstacle runs, or other themed events pop up on Facebook, Groupon, and Living Social. If charity events are more your speed, there are tons of great events that can help you support the causes you believe in – and if running isn’t your thing there are lots of charity walks as well. Form a team and raise money together – it’s another great chance to spend time with friends, family or co-workers. My favorite search engine for events is Running in the USA.

For the ‘Couch Potato’

This is pretty much where I fell (or fall, depending on what day it is) – so I use the phrase ‘couch potato’ with nothing but love. When you’re in a couch potato state – the most important thing you can do is start incorporating little bits of activity wherever you can. I started by parking further away from work/stores so I have to walk a little extra, or walking to the grocery store instead of driving when I don’t have a ton of things to buy. I also like to incorporate extra walking into things I already love – like going to concerts. During the summer months, I usually end up going to between 6 and 8 concerts. Concerts just equal summer to me. So while I’m there, I try to take a few laps around the venue to check out the merchandise booths and people watch. You can apply this same principle to all kinds of outdoor events!

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For the Fashionista

Do you love shopping? If you’re already at the mall, the outlets, or a market – take the opportunity to appreciate the free cardio you’re sneaking in! Before making an impulse purchase, take a lap around the store or mall to think it over – it’s good for your health and your wallet! 🙂 In a similar fashion, take time to compare prices for items that can be found in multiple stores. The extra walking you get in allows you to window-shop, and up your step-count for the day. Not to mention hauling those heavy bags gets in an arm workout! Warning: this tip may not be as healthy for your wallet as it is for your body!

For the Nature Lover

Love being outdoors? There are so many healthy things to do outside that take advantage of beautiful weather. The first one that comes to mind is hiking. And you don’t have to hike a huge, intimidating mountain to get the benefits. Just the other night during my usual run around my neighborhood, I discovered that a local park’s trail/bike path connects to my neighborhood so I have a whole new running path to explore! Walking, running or biking with friends is a great way to catch up other than meeting for Happy Hour. Although there’s nothing wrong with Happy Hour! 🙂 I think another great option is to meet at your local Happy Hour joint, take a quick out-and-back run/walk and then enjoy drinks afterwards! 🙂

Walking a dog is another great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors while taking in some cardio. Personally, I don’t have a dog because my apartment doesn’t allow them but I want one really badly so I’m constantly stealing borrowing friend’s dogs. If you have a good friend with a pooch, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind including you on their daily walks!

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Seriously, I just want all dogs to let me pet them.

I think the moral of the story is that finding any way to get up and moving – while doing something you love is a big step towards a healthy lifestyle! 🙂

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10 responses to “Healthy Hobbies Beyond Fitness

  1. I love using the outlet mall as a good way to get out and walk around! Sometimes I don’t even buy anything, but when it’s a nice day, I love just walking!

    • Me too! One of my favorite shopping centers has a Starbucks on one end and a Target on the other so I like to stop at Starbucks for a soy chai latte…then walk all the way to Target window shopping. And let’s face it, I always need something at Target! 🙂

  2. Great post! I think sometimes people feel intimidated by the idea of incorporating more activity into their day and this makes it seem not no scary!

    Also I tried SUP-ing a couple weeks ago and it was tons of fun! I highly recommend it, however I have no idea how some people can do yoga on those things 😐

    • Thank you so much! 🙂 That was definitely a big obstacle for me in the beginning – just trying to find little ways to incorporate activity!

      And I can’t wait to try SUPing…..I agree with you about the yoga. I’m scared I’d end up in the water! 🙂

  3. Great ideas for maintaining fitness with out making it a chore! I find that a brisk walk will clear my mind and make me feel like I accomplished something physical.

  4. I want all dogs to let me pet them too! My sport of choice is running. Doesn’t take coordination. The paddleboard thing looks really cool, but I don’t think I could pull it off.

  5. Such great tips and ideas! I just implemented the shopping tip today – not good for my wallet but I did exceed my step goal! Thanks so much for linking up with us at Tips and Tricks Tuesday!

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