Every man needs a “thing”. Something that motivates him. Something aside from work that gives him a sense of purpose. And, if nothing else, something to put in his Tinder bio other than, “enjoys consuming nutrients and breathing oxygen”.
Now more than ever, hobbies play a vital role in our mental – and sometimes even physical – well-being. They help us to unwind, de-stress, meet new people and make new friends. However, if you’re on the hunt for one, it can be a little daunting. There’s just so much out there worth trying. So, to help you make an informed decision, we’ve whittled it down to a number of failsafe options that are perfect for the modern gent.
Hit Your Stride
Running is one of the purest, simplest ways to shed some pounds and keep your heart healthy. For most, it’s just a means to an end, but if you really immerse yourself in the sport, it has much more to offer in terms of setting yourself new challenges, socialising and getting into the gear and tech side of things too.
Why not join a local run club so that you can make some new connections while you log your miles? There’s even scope to get into the more competitive side of things if you’re that way inclined.
Catch Some Waves
If you’re lucky enough to live near the sea, you should use it to your advantage. Find a surf school and get stuck into some lessons. Not only is surfing cool, it’s also an excellent core workout, and you might be surprised where you’re able to do it.
It’s not just the sunny beaches of So Cal and Australia’s Sunshine Coast – provided you have the right cold-water kit you can surf in cooler climes too. Or, if you fancy something a bit more laid back, why not give paddle boarding a shot instead?
This historic sport has it all: the socialising, the technique building, the cardio (provided you don’t get a buggy) and the gear. There are lots of reasons to fall in love with golf, which is perhaps why it appeals to such a broad section of the male population.
Plus, because of its low intensity, it’s the sort of sport you can stick at well into old age, and having a hobby that gets you outdoors when you’re in your twilight years is a very valuable thing.
Pump Some Iron
Whether you’re a powerlifter attempting to lift as many plates as possible or a bodybuilder trying to sculpt the perfect physique, lifting weights is a great way to stay in shape. All you need to do is join a gym, and the rest is determination and consistency.
It’s a great leveller and something anyone can do with success if they keep grinding for long enough while combining it with the right diet. Learn to enjoy the process and watch the results just happen.
Maybe you don’t want to cultivate a Herculean physique with bulging biceps and button-popping pecs. If you’re more concerned with building strength, improving athletic performance and developing lean muscle, callisthenics might be the best form of gym training for you.
It’s all bodyweight based, so it can be done with little to no equipment, and if you’re willing to invest the time it takes to learn new movements you’ll see incredible results in your body, strength and muscular endurance.
If you have the cash for it, watch collecting is a great hobby. Granted, it’s a bit of a bottomless pit for money, but you don’t necessarily have to go after the most expensive Swiss-made luxury watches to build your collection.
Most collectors are equally interested in the history and heritage of the timepieces they buy as they are in the rarity and exclusiveness. So it’s perfectly possible to get started without spending tens of thousands.
Once you start building, it’s the sort of hobby you can keep up for life, working towards buying your grail piece, or perhaps even dabbling in building a watch or two of your own.
Creating a website is something we know a bit about, so believe us when we say it can be a useful and rewarding way to spend your spare time. Perhaps you’re interested in the design side of things, or maybe it’s the writing aspect that appeals to you.
Whatever is drawing you to the world of creating websites, it’s a surprisingly easy field to get started in. All you need is a bit of money to purchase a domain name and some basic hosting, and the rest is just a case of investing your own time to learn the skills. Who knows, get it right and it could even start to generate some income.
Some of the most satisfying hobbies are the ones where you create something beautiful. If you feel like you’re lacking an outlet for that sort of thing, getting artistic is a great way to channel your creativity. And the best part is, you don’t have to be good at it.
Whether you pick up a paintbrush, pastels, pencils or an iPad and stylus, the main thing is that you’re making something and expressing yourself. You don’t have to be the next Rembrandt.
There’s a thrilling simplicity to heading into the wilderness with everything you need to survive strapped to your back. Whether you’re venturing out for a day or a week, reconnecting with nature and exploring the outdoors on foot is an excellent way to get some fresh air, max out your step goals and develop useful practical skills in the process.
In a world dominated by technology, where we rarely go a few minutes without looking at a screen, being totally self-sufficient and getting fully off-grid is more valuable than ever. It’s still one of the best ways you can choose to spend your spare time.
Stretch It Out
Yoga is constantly increasing in popularity. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s not for men, because it’s something anyone can do, and it has numerous benefits regardless of gender.
Not only is it a challenging strength workout that’s great for developing your core, but it’s also great for staying flexible and preventing or recovering from injuries.
Mastering An Instrument
Your neighbours may not thank you at first (particularly if you opt for drums or the violin) but learning how to play a musical instrument is ultimately one of the most rewarding things a person can do.
The best part is you never stop improving. There are always new challenges and there’s even a social side to explore when it comes to forming a band and jamming with fellow “artists”.
Getting Behind The Lens
There are few things more satisfying than perfectly capturing a moment in time. Photography is a fantastic skill to master, and now that everyone has a smartphone in their pocket, it’s never been easier to give it a go. Try practising your shooting style with your phone before you go investing in the latest camera tech though.
Working With Wood
There’s something deeply satisfying, perhaps on a primal level, about whittling away at a piece of wood to create something new. Woodwork is an age-old hobby that can bless you with not only hours of entertainment but also a way to conjure up birthday and Christmas presents without ever having to spend a penny.
Getting Creative In The Kitchen
As long as you’re not trying to channel Heston Blumenthal when the closest you’ve ever been to a stove was leaning over it to put a ready meal in the microwave, experimenting in the kitchen is a therapeutic way to refine your culinary skills. Why not try learning a few new recipes and eventually you’ll be confident enough to venture off-piste. Still, leave the dry ice and flambéing to the pros, eh?
Speaking of off-piste, taking up skiing or snowboarding is one of the most enjoyable ways you can possibly keep fit.
Granted, not all of us are lucky enough to live near the slopes, nor is a trip looking particularly likely for the next 6 months or so, but there are plenty of dry and indoor options around so you can get some practise in before you tackle the real thing.
Putting Pen To Paper
You don’t have to be Oscar Wilde to try your hand at writing. Whether it’s penning short stories, a novel, or even just keeping a journal, putting your thoughts down on paper can be therapeutic and it’s a great way to expand your vocabulary while keeping your mind supple at the same time.
When asked why he wanted to climb Everest, legendary mountaineer George Mallory famously replied, “Because it’s there”. That about sums mountaineering up, and you simply either have that urge or you don’t.
If you do, you could be on the verge of discovering a new lifelong hobby that will take you to faraway places, introduce you to new friends and make you feel more alive than you ever thought possible. On the downside, you’ll also discover how expensive rope is.
Whether it’s bombing down forest tracks at breakneck speed or cladding yourself head to toe in Lycra and trying to smash your personal best on Strava, cycling is a great way to stay in shape and occupy your free time.
Good for the heart, great for the head and once you’ve forked out for your equipment it’ll rarely cost you a penny.
For the average guy, the thought of being able to conjure delicious beer out of thin air is akin to growing a money tree. While the latter is still sadly out of the question, with the right equipment and a bit of studying there’s no reason why you can’t become a competent home brewer.
Drinks on you.
Giving Something Back
Not all hobbies are about personal gain. A lot of people like to spend their spare time helping others and giving back to the community.
If you’re searching for a meaningful way to use your spare time, why not look into volunteering at a local charity or getting involved in some community service work at the weekends?
Learning To Defend Yourself
You’ll probably never need to use it, but even so, learning a martial art is a tried and tested way to build confidence, make new friends and stay in shape all at the same time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner – many gyms offer free introductory courses, so if you think you’ve got what it takes to be the next Bruce Lee then you can go along and try it out without spending a penny. Likewise, there are plenty of instructional videos available online to try while the dojo is shut.
Mastering A New Language
For those of us who only speak one language, going away to a foreign country where even the children are bi- or multilingual can be a little embarrassing. However, spend your spare time learning a second tongue and you need never experience that feeling again.
Whether you go all out with night classes or just do a few minutes a day on an app like Duolingo, learning new languages is one of the most useful hobbies there is.
Barely a day goes by that you don’t feel like tearing your hair out with stress at one point or another, but such is modern life. Perhaps that’s why meditation has become a popular means of keeping both mind and body fit and healthy.
There are certainly less beneficial ways to spend your spare time.
Exploring The World
If we’ve learned anything over the past 12 months, it’s that being confined to your home only increases your desire to see the world. Discovering new places and meeting new people is what living life is all about – so if it’s a new hobby you’re looking for, why not start planning that dream trip you have been putting off and book the first ticket out of here as soon as life returns to normality?
Climbers are some of the most physically fit people you will ever meet, and it’s no wonder. Hauling your body up sheer cliff faces using only your fingers, arms and legs unsurprisingly burns some pretty serious calories.
No suitable spots nearby? Don’t let that stop you; get online and find your nearest bouldering gym. Most are fairly cheap and given that walls don’t tend to reach much over 15ft, you’re a lot less likely to injure yourself.