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Regular exercise and training is an excellent way to stay in shape. However, if you train hard but are mostly sedentary for the rest of the day, then you will find yourself making less-than-satisfactory progress. It is for this reason that active hobbies are so important. Active hobbies incorporate meaningful physical activity with something you enjoy doing. This way, you can still train hard but you will also be burning more calories and working more muscles throughout the day. Active hobbies provide many health benefits since they keep you active for more than just the length of a training session.

Team and Individual Sports

Recreational sports make up a large number of active hobbies. They can be an enjoyable way to blow off some steam, burn extra calories, and get in a little friendly competition with some friends. These sports come in all shapes and sizes from competitive amateur leagues to recreational leagues to even unorganized pickup games. Sports make for fun, versatile active hobbies.

Soccer

Soccer, which is arguably the most prominent sport in the world, is very popular in both the competitive and recreational settings. As an active hobby, soccer is an excellent choice. It is a moderate-to-high intensity activity that works the majority of the muscles in your body. It proves to be an intense cardio and strength session where you burn anywhere from 260 to 311 calories over a 30-minute bout (Multiply your 30-minute burn by however long you played). Soccer is a great active hobby for anyone from the seasoned amateur to the weekend warrior, so find a pitch and give it a shot!

An image of a soccer ball with players in the background.
A soccer pitch on a lovely day.

Tennis

Tennis is also a very popular sport that is played in both the competitive and recreational settings. It is a versatile option for anyone looking for a new active hobby. Tennis offers a moderate calorie burn of about 210-260 calories per 30 minutes while also presenting many different ways to play tennis. You can play with any number of people from going solo and playing alone to playing with multiple others. Tennis is a wonderful choice for anyone looking to take part in a new active hobby.

A young man is reaching for and hitting a tennis ball.
A young man playing tennis.

Basketball

A beloved American sport, basketball can be found in many educational institutions across the country as well as professional arenas and local gyms. Basketball is a great energetic sport with plenty of action and excitement, so if you enjoy fast-paced, high-scoring games, basketball is for you. With an average burn of 205 calories for a 30-minute session, basketball is a perfect option for the recreational exerciser to enjoy healthy competition while also getting in a solid additional calorie burn.

A basketball player is taking a shot from the free throw line.
Basketball is an excellent active hobby.

Volleyball

Volleyball can be played in a plethora of venues from a neighborhood park to a local fitness center and even all the way to the white-sand beaches of the Greek Isles. It’s tempting to ask, “Where can’t you play volleyball?” Volleyball as a sport has been increasing in popularity in recent years and today is immensely popular. This activity, which presents an average calorie burn of 172 calories per half hour, is a wonderful way to get some extra activity while also spending time outside whether it be in your own neighborhood, on a beautiful beach, or anywhere in between!

A group of people playing volleyball on the beach at dusk.
A group playing volleyball on the beach.

Golf

Golf is a very popular sport that is enjoyed by many different people from all walks of life. There are many who consider golf to be a leisurely activity, and, while it can be leisurely, it touts an impressive 720 calories burned on average during a nine-hole game without the use of a golf cart. Nine-holes takes a few hours, but an extra 700+ calorie burn is still a great bonus. Golf also allows for plenty of social interaction while these calories are being burned. If you are looking for a somewhat leisurely activity with a social aspect and a considerable calorie burn, golf could be your activity.

A young woman after hitting a golf ball on a nice day.
A young woman playing golf.

Active Hobbies in the Outdoors

You can find an active hobby anywhere, so the outdoors gives us a colossal sandbox to explore and be active in. These activities are quite flexible and can oftentimes be combined with each other in a seemingly infinite number of ways. The greatest benefit of outdoor activities is that you can be physically active while taking in some of nature’s most breathtaking sites. However, these activities can be dangerous if proper precautions aren’t taken. Always ensure that you follow safe practices and avoid situations that could endanger yourself or others.

Backpacking and Hiking

Hiking and backpacking are likely the most common outdoor activities. Short day hikes or multi-day (or even longer) backpacking trips are very popular among outdoor enthusiasts and recreational exercisers alike. While backpacking has a more significant financial commitment, hiking and backpacking are both relatively inexpensive. Furthermore, they are both beginner-friendly activities as they have skills that can be easily developed with some practice on and off the trail. Finally, the biggest allure that these activities have is that after a long day (or days) of hard work, you are rewarded with gorgeous, expansive views of nature’s beauty.

When adventuring into even a local park, it is important to understand the basics of navigation and to carry the Ten Essentials. Always tell someone where you are going and what your route is.

Two hikers making their way through wooded vegetation in the wilderness.
Two hikers making their way through the wilderness.

Skiing and Snowboarding

Skiing and snowboarding are undoubtedly the two most popular snow sports around, so naturally, they are popular active hobbies. They both engage your whole body (skiing does so more than snowboarding) and allow you to spend hours doing them both. Additionally, there are plenty of ways to modify each of them. For example, adventure skiing and snowboarding are done in the backcountry and can be combined with mountaineering which creates beautiful landscapes as well as exciting runs.

Please ski and snowboard safely. Find more information about backcountry snow safety here.

A family skiing through an opening in the trees.
A family on a ski trip.

Climbing

An activity that definitely isn’t for the faint of heart, climbing is a very rewarding activity if you are willing to brave reaching heights. It may seem daunting, but when done correctly, it is actually a very safe activity that most people can get into. If you dare to start climbing, you will be rewarded with stunning views and a sense of accomplishment for doing something many people will never have the courage to do. There are also plenty of levels of progression as you grow and develop as a climber. You can begin mountaineering and ice climbing to name just two. If you have a daring soul and aren’t afraid of heights, climbing could be for you! Even if you are a bit shy of heights, you should still consider it!

Please always climb safely. Find more on getting into climbing here.

A climber scaling the face of a cliff.
A climber scaling the face of a cliff.

Mountain Biking

If you enjoy fast-paced adventures that offer fresh air, gutsy trails, and expansive landscapes, then mountain biking may be an activity for you. Whether you are a corporate executive, an overworked student, or a fearless adventurer, you can get into mountain biking. This activity offers a way for everyone to blow off steam and appreciate nature all while doing something you enjoy alone or with others. Finally, mountain biking can take as much or as little time as you want depending on the trail you choose. It can be a multi-day excursion or a lunch-break outing.

To learn more about mountain biking check this out.

A mountain biker smiling and taking in the view after having conquered a tough ride.
A man taking in the view after conquering a tough ride.
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Aquatic Hobbies

There are plenty of activities to do on land, but there are also so many aquatic activities as well! Whether it be a hot summer afternoon or a cool autumn morning, these active hobbies are perfect for anyone looking to get more water into their lives!

White Water Rafting

Whether you are a seasoned veteran that can lead a group or a novice going on a guided expedition, white water rafting is an intense adventure that everyone can enjoy. It allows you to face challenges with a group of other courageous (and possibly terrified) individuals as you all work to guide your raft through the fast-moving river and treacherous rapids. White water rafting gives you a good workout as you are constantly keeping yourself stabilized and paddling to keep the raft moving in the right direction. There are plenty of guided expeditions available for any level or you can navigate through these daring adventures yourself.

Whether you are braving a Class I or Class VI set of rapids, it is important that you wear a helmet and a life vest.

A group of rafters facing rapids.
A group facing rapids together.

Kayaking

Kayaking is an excellent active hobby for anyone looking to get in some extra activity while enjoying a day on the lake, river, or ocean. This is an activity that provides a great workout since you are solely responsible for the movement of your kayak. In fact, an hour of kayaking will burn upwards of 300 calories! Kayaking can be done nearly anywhere with water whether it be a quickly moving river, a tranquil river, or the Atlantic Ocean. Finally, it may seem like an expensive hobby, but there are plenty of affordable ways to rent all the equipment necessary to have a safe, enjoyable day.

A group of kayakers on a tranquil lake on a sunny day.
A group of kayakers on a pleasant day.

Windsurfing

Windsurfing is an activity that combines two distinct elements: surfing and sailing. Using a surfboard with a sail, your goal is to use the wind to propel you where you’d like to go. Windsurfing is an excellent opportunity to increase physical fitness as it requires both balance and the strength to stabilize and guide your board. There are many different levels and types of windsurfing, and there are also a number of organizations that offer introductory-level windsurfing classes and lessons.

A windsurfer heading on open water towards and island.
A man on a solo windsurfing adventure.

Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is an interesting activity that many of us likely haven’t really considered to be an active hobby. It is an activity that lets you get up close and personal with nature and ocean life while also giving you a solid workout. Scuba diving gives you the opportunity to explore underwater depths without the need to come up for air. Additionally, there is obviously a lot of swimming involved and you also must carry an oxygen tank on your back which means that there is a lot of physical activity involved. So, if you’d like to meet sea creatures face-to-face and get a good workout in, consider scuba diving!

Three scuba divers exploring coral reefs.
A group of friends on a scuba expedition.

Competitive Activities

Active hobbies don’t all have to be recreational. There are plenty of options for someone searching for an active hobby with a tougher, more competitive side. These oftentimes come in the form of racing, although there are many unique and challenging variations.

Obstacle Racing

Obstacle racing is an up-and-coming sport that forces participants to use their brains and brawn to overcome obstacles throughout the course. These obstacles make racing a full-body workout and transform it into a true test of your resilience. This may sound daunting, but I can assure you that obstacle racing is a great hobby for absolutely anyone to get into. Anyone can develop the skills necessary to overcome the obstacles and succeed. I suggest considering the very popular Spartan Race as it is tough yet beginner-friendly. Give it a shot, you will be surprised by what your body is capable of.

Endurance athletes crawling along a rope to cross an obstacle.
A group of athletes overcoming an obstacle.

Triathlon

The triathlon is a classic endurance event combining running, swimming, and cycling, and today triathlon is a popular race among Olympic athletes and weekend warriors alike. This race will test your endurance, resilience, and dedication beginning with your first day of training all the way until you cross the finish line. Triathlons come in many shapes and sizes, so as you grow there will be more difficult races for you to conquer!

A group of athletes beginning the cycling portion of a triathlon.
A group beginning the cycling portion of a triathlon.

Adventure Racing

Adventure racing is becoming increasingly popular as more and more enthusiastic athletes are taking it on. This is a sport that has participants travel long distances over difficult terrain in order to reach the finish line. You and your team start and, without a marked route, you must use your navigational skills to hike, climb, paddle, and bike to the finish line! Adventure races have many variations in unique locations which makes every race one-of-a-kind. This is an opportunity for you and your team to do incredible things, so why not take on this challenge?

A group of racers crossing a body of water in an adventure race.
A team taking on an adventure race.
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