Taking up something new is a fantastic way to make the most of your free time. Hobbies can be as easy-going or demanding as you want. So, how can you decide which activity is right for you?
Which hobbies are the most common?
A hobby is an “activity that you enjoy doing in your spare time”, which means you can consider almost any pursuit a hobby. Although the definition may seem broad, it shows that there are endless possibilities for anyone looking to start a new hobby. Quantifying the most common British hobbies is difficult, but we have a few statistics to give an insight into the nation’s favourite pastimes:
- In a 2019/2020 survey about hobbies in the home, 47% of over 65s said they garden regularly.
- When asked ''what are your hobbies and interests?'', 24% of respondents replied, “arts and crafts”.
- In 2019, there were 7 million gym memberships in the UK.
How do you know which hobby is for you?
If you’re struggling to decide which hobby is right for you, look no further! We’ve devised two key ways to determine which leisure activities suit you, based on your current situation and your interests. When you’ve decided which hobby to try, why not leave us a comment at the bottom of the article to let us know how you’re getting on?
We also spoke to Jen Walshaw from Mum in the Madhouse, who shared another tip with Age Times: "When I was growing up my dad told me to look at what I enjoyed doing the most and keep that as a hobby and what I next enjoyed doing as a career!
"That way there was never the joy taken away by doing something you love for money."
Hobbies based on your situation
You may have heard of empty nest syndrome. The phenomenon describes the feelings of sadness that parents or carers experience when their children move away from home. However, the term ‘empty nest’ doesn’t have to be negative. An empty nester is simply someone who has grown up children who no longer live at home. While it takes some time to adjust to a new way of life, having a less-full house leaves more time for you to focus on yourself.
You may still have a full-time or part-time job. In this case, you’ll need to find an activity that you can do mainly in the evenings. Hobbies that can be picked up and put down to suit your schedule are ideal. This could include arts and crafts, learning something new, or even a new sport. For more ideas have a look at our article on five cheap hobbies to try now.
Reduced working hours
If you’ve decided to reduce your working hours, you may prefer to take up a hobby that helps you wind down and relax. It can be hard to fit regular exercise around a busy working schedule, so now is the perfect time to explore a new sporty hobby. According to the NHS website, regularly engaging in physical activity can reduce the risk of major diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
Alternatively, you could decide to pursue a learning-based hobby. The skills that you acquire can be related to your job or be in a completely different field. Either way, you may see a positive difference in your work. With so much extra free time on your hands, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of regularly dedicating time to your new hobby. Otherwise, you may find that your free time slips away from you, leaving you wondering where it’s gone!
If you are newly retired, the prospect of filling your days can be daunting. But the good news is you can get stuck into your new hobbies and gain impressive skills. In 2016, researchers investigated the amount of time Brits spent on our hobbies. 51% of interviewees said that they would like to spend more time on their hobbies and interests.
As a retiree, having so much free time means that you can search for a hobby that suits you. You’ll know when you’ve found the hobby for you because you’ll find yourself doing it all the time! If the first activity you try isn’t for you, there’s no pressure to continue, and there’s always something else to try. For more inspiration, have a look at the list below.
Choosing a hobby based on your interests
Good for: staying at home, spending a few hours at a time, seeing results
When we think of hobbies, many of us immediately think of crafts. Still, the thought of cutting and sticking or making papier-mâché plant pots might not have you jumping for joy. Don’t worry, today’s online community and in-person classes offer a much more comprehensive range of art activities.
Crafts require dedication and patience. While it may feel a bit overwhelming at first, taking up a new craft can be therapeutic and allow you to make something for yourself or others. Check out our recent guide on how to start sewing.
Good for: health benefits, staying in shape, endorphins
Regular exercise is good for us. However, if we’re not in shape, it can be hard to overcome the fear of getting up and going for a run. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore; finding the right type of exercise is the key to enjoying it.
We’re lucky to live in an age with an abundance of online exercise classes, many of which are offered by professionals. If you have specific health requirements, it’s a good idea to contact your GP to find out the types of exercises that are most suitable for you. This will avoid injuries and help you to get the most out of your classes. At Health Times, we have an entire section dedicated to staying active, why not have a look for more ideas?
Good for: fans of lifelong education, keeping your brain active
We all have interests outside of our professional lives. Sometimes, it can be hard to work out what they are. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, such as learning a language or finding out more about a specific subject like history or geography, now is the time!
It’s great to play to your strengths and research things that you already know about, but don’t be scared to go outside of your comfort zone. Many of us think it’s too late to learn a new language, for example, but with enough time and dedication, anyone can absorb new information!
If you have recently taken up a new hobby, we would love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below to tell us more. For more inspiration on taking up new hobbies, have a look at our hobby pages.