A Guide To Outdoor Hobbies


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A list of outdoor hobbies to try and the benefits of them.

Two people doing outdoor hobbies

The great outdoors is one of the most beautiful and underappreciated parts of our world. So many of us spend our lives indoors and forget how beautiful just being in nature can be. Fresh air is incredibly good for you and being outdoors is fantastic for both your physical and mental health.

It is easy to forget about the great natural world when we’re stuck indoors staring at screens all day. But, if you find yourself spending a lot of time scrolling through photos and videos of travel accounts on Instagram and TikTok, it might be time to get out and about yourself.

This is especially important if you live in a city or urban area. Pollution is terrible for the health of the planet but also the health of the people. Even if you can only get to a local park or green space, it will do you the world of good.

Benefits of Having A Hobby

Friend having fun with some outdoor hobbies

Having a hobby is something we are all encouraged to do when we are children. But this is often forgotten when we reach adulthood and work, bills, rent, children, and general life gets in the way. But, if you can carve out even just thirty minutes to an hour a week to spend on a hobby, you will experience a wide range of benefits. 

Physical Benefits

This is the most obvious benefit of outdoor activity. But it is especially useful if you want to get more physically fit. Moving your body, even just a little, is incredibly important for both your short-term and long-term health. But not everyone enjoys heading to the gym for a dedicated workout session. This can be difficult and boring if you don’t enjoy working out.

One of the things people speak of most commonly when it comes to physical activity is weight management. While it is important to maintain a weight that is healthy for you, it shouldn’t be your primary focus. If you focus on weight loss or building muscle, then you might not enjoy the activity as much as you otherwise would. It’s best to think of these as potentially beneficial side effects. 

Physical movement helps to strengthen your body, make you more flexible, improve agility, improve your cardiovascular health, reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and make you feel more awake and alive.

Mental & Emotional Benefits

This is a benefit that a lot of skeptics don’t believe. A lot of people think that they don’t like physical activity because they can only imagine doing it in the gym, or have bad memories from intense school gym classes. But there are so many different ways to move your body (especially outdoors) that are gentle and make you feel great.

As mentioned above, a lot of people see physical activity as something that is only done to lose weight or maybe build muscle. But that is definitely not the most important thing. Being outside and moving your body can make you feel amazing. You don’t have to be running on a treadmill for twenty minutes to feel the benefit.

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. These are the hormones in your body that relieve stress and pain. Exercise also causes your body to produce dopamine, which is often referred to as the “happiness hormone”. Exercise can make you feel wide awake and full of life. This can make you feel happy and appreciative of what your body can do.

Some people dismiss the idea that physical exercise can help with mental health, but it really is true. The main problem, especially for depression and anxiety, is being able to get up and start moving in the first place. So, if you can, even just standing outside somewhere peaceful for a few minutes is a great place to start. 

Can Improve Your Creativity

This is a surprising benefit of physical activity. Anyone who has a creative hobby or job knows that inspiration and creativity can come in huge peaks and troughs. Going for a hike, pitching up in a woodland, or just being out in nature can provide you with some amazing inspiration.

This ties in with the mental and emotional benefits above. Physical activity, especially outdoors, can wake your brain up and flood your body with hormones and chemicals that make you feel amazing. This can give you more energy, both physically and mentally, which can help you to be more creative.

The natural world has always been a great source of inspiration for artists, writers, and poets. So it is no surprise that being outdoors can help inspire you creatively. But combining the great outdoors with physical activity can make the experience even better.

Can Help You Make New Friends

Joining a local group is a great way to make new friends. Making friends as an adult can be a little difficult, especially if you’re recently out of school or college. Joining a hiking group is one of the best ways to find like-minded people who also enjoy being outdoors.

Joining a sports team is also a great idea. Playing soccer or football on a field still counts as being outdoors! Just moving around in the fresh air surrounded by greenery will do wonders for you. 

When exercising, especially in team sports, you bond with other people as you need to work together. This is a great way to build up relationships and friendships with other people. This is especially useful if you have difficulty approaching people you want to be friends with. It will give you something to talk about and you will naturally become friends in an unforced way. 

Can Make You More Knowledgeable

When you take up a hobby, you will quickly become fascinated with everything associated with it. This can be the history of a sport, the benefits of an activity, or perhaps even how to begin competing. 

Once you find something you enjoy, you want to know everything there is to know about it. You will find yourself researching the best shoes for hiking, the best helmet for horseback riding, or how best to position yourself when cycling uphill.

You can become an expert on something that you never used to know anything about. This is even more fun when you start a hobby outdoors, as you will become more knowledgeable about the world around you. You can explore woodlands and climb mountains. Or you can learn which nuts and berries are safe to eat (and which aren’t!) and discover places you never knew existed. 

It will open up a whole new world of friendship, fun, and information that you didn’t know was out there. It’s a great way to open up your world a little and switch up your everyday life. 

Helps to De-stress

When you’re feeling worked up and stressed, you might feel as though you don’t have the time to get outdoors and move around. But it can be just the thing to help calm you down and work through your problems. 

As mentioned above, physical activity causes the body to release endorphins which help to reduce pain and stress. When you’re stressed, your body begins to release adrenaline. This gives you a huge rush of energy that isn’t always helpful. It’s an evolutionary feature that would be useful if you are, for example, trying to escape from an animal. But it isn’t helpful when you’re looking at a big list of emails and are feeling overwhelmed. 

Staring at the problem and thinking about how stressed it is making you won’t help. Taking a break away from the problem and going for a walk, cycling around the park, or even going horseback riding and allowing the horse to gallop as fast as they want are great ways to get rid of the energy caused by the adrenaline rush.

Once you have got rid of the adrenaline, you can come back to whatever is making you feel stressed. You will feel more peaceful for having been outdoors, less anxious because you have burned off the adrenaline, and in a better mood as your body has released dopamine and endorphins. You will feel much better and because of this, you will also be in a better position to work through whatever you feel stressed about. 

List Of Outdoor Hobbies

A person next to a list of outdoor hobbies

Hustle culture is consuming a lot of people. We are taught to work as much as we can, even having multiple jobs alongside our main full-time jobs. This is a problem because of low wages and a lack of full-time and permanent jobs, but it is also due to people being made to feel as though they always need to be busy.

But always being busy is not good for you. Try and think of the last time you actually did nothing. The last time you sat on a patch of grass and enjoyed the smell of nearby flowers or watched the clouds go by above you. This is a surprisingly difficult thing to do. So, if you want to spend more time away from a screen, there are plenty of ways to stay busy outdoors. Here are some great hobbies that you can start taking part in right now. 

Camping

Camping is a great way to dip your toe into the great outdoors. You don’t have to do anything too strenuous, but you can become more accustomed to being outdoors. Camping is also a great way to try out lots of different activities. If you go to a dedicated campsite, there will likely be lots of different events and activities to get involved in.

This is great for beginners as a lot of other people at the campsite will also be new to the activities. One of the main reasons why people don’t get involved with something physical is the fear of not knowing what to do and embarrassing themselves in front of experienced people. But at a campsite, a lot of people will just say “Why not?” and get involved. So you can just have a go with a bunch of other rookies.

Camping is also great if you want to explore different places, especially if you’re interested in hiking. For many people, especially those in cities, it’s difficult to find somewhere to hike. Even if you have local green spaces or parks, they just aren’t the same as the great outdoors. They are great if you can’t go anywhere else, but, if you can, heading out of the city is always a good idea. 

Hiking

On that note, hiking is another easy activity to get involved with. You don’t need any experience or special gear (although some hiking boots or tough sneakers are a good idea). You will need to take a map (depending on the signal for GPS) and a water bottle and that’s it.

There are also lots of different trails for hiking, so you don’t have to worry about your own abilities. If you go to a national park, the difficulty of the different routes will usually be marked or color coded. So you can choose an easy route to get you started.

Hiking is an especially great way to get fit as you won’t really be thinking much about the activity itself. You will, of course, feel tired and out of breath sometimes. But you will mostly be struck by the beautiful scenery and landscapes around you. The tired feet and blisters will all be worth it to see the beauty of nature.

Hiking is also great for making friends. You can join local hiking groups and go hiking with lots of different people. As hiking doesn’t require much concentration or get you too out of breath, you can chat with the people with you. This is a great way to form a bond with someone. If you end up with someone experienced, then you have a friend to answer any questions that you might have and make you feel more comfortable. If you end up with another newbie, then you can band together and be the new ones together. Or both!

Photography

If you want to be outdoors but don’t want to be too active, then photography is a great hobby. If you have a camera, that’s great. But you don’t need anything fancy to get started. There’s a good chance that the camera on your phone will be good enough to take some nice photos. Using the camera on your phone will help you to understand perspective, depth, and scope. It’s a good idea to practice with your phone before investing in an expensive camera.

Photography isn’t necessarily an activity without any exercise. You might find yourself hiking or climbing to specific spots to take photos, so you can still get a good workout in. But the great thing about photography is that it is entirely your choice. You don’t have to be running about or pushing yourself to your limits to enjoy the great outdoors.

This is a great option if you don’t want to spend time outdoors with other people. It doesn’t have to be, but photography can be a very isolated experience. If you want to get outdoors to experience some peace and quiet, then photography is a great option. It can be difficult when you first try to step outside and gain some peace of mind. Especially if your thoughts are all swirling around your brain. Photography will give you something to focus on while you’re in a peaceful place and help you to work your way toward enjoying being alone in nature.

Fishing

Two people fishing

Fishing is another activity that you can do alone or with other people. A lot of people avoid this hobby due to the fact that it often includes killing the fish. But you also have the option of throwing the fish back. That said, fish do feel pain and fear when they are caught and released, so this should be borne in mind.

One of the main reasons why people go fishing is the bonding experience. It is a traditional hobby for men to go fishing together, usually fathers and sons. But, of course, there is no reason to gender such a hobby. But it is still a very male-dominated hobby which can make it seem closed off to women. 

This is a problem in a lot of outdoor pursuits. They are often portrayed as being only suited for certain people. But that really isn’t the case. This is another great reason to join outdoor groups so you can join people like you who will help you to feel more comfortable. 

Fishing is often perceived as quite a sedentary activity but this definitely doesn’t have to be the case. It will allow you to spend long periods of time waiting for a fish to bite, and you can spend this time sitting down. But this depends on the type of fishing you do. If you would rather wade into a river to fish, then you’re going to need to hold firm against the current which will help you to build up a great deal of physical strength. You will also be moving a lot when casting the line and pulling your catch. 

Airsofting

Airsofting is an activity that not many people are aware of. Airsoft is a game similar to paintball, but you instead use plastic projectiles instead of paint (or the real bullets used in real guns). Before beginning this activity, it’s important to check its legality in your area. The law varies from state to state and country to country, but some areas have banned the activity due to the resemblance of airsoft rifles to real guns. This is an important thing to consider before starting as you might not be comfortable with the guns yourself.

Airsofting is the sort of activity where you will be outdoors and exercising without even realizing it. This is because you will have a different focus as you will be trying to win the game. This means that you might not even realize that you are tired and out of breath until you finish the game. This is great if you find it difficult to motivate yourself to focus on working out.

Another benefit of airsofting is that you will be working in a team with other people. This can help you to develop great communication and teamwork skills, and maybe even some new friends.

Climbing

Rock climbing is a hobby that has become a lot more popular in recent years. This includes rock climbing outdoors on actual rock faces, rock climbing on specifically constructed walls outdoors, and bouldering. Bouldering is a slightly different activity that involves climbing up boulders and rock faces that are less flat than traditional rock climbing. It also doesn’t include harnesses and so is a little riskier than climbing.

Rock climbing is a great way to get in a workout and really feel as though you have achieved something afterward. Once you have reached as far as you can, you can abseil down and see how far you got. This will get higher over time and you can easily track your progress. You can also time yourself to see how fast you’re climbing each time and gradually work toward more difficult routes.

Rock climbing is a great workout. Even if you are wearing a harness, you are still pulling yourself up. This will primarily target your arms and abdominal muscles, but will also help to build muscle and strength in your legs. In fact, rock climbing is a great full-body workout

This is another activity that will help you to build friendships and bond with other people. You will need to climb with other people who will be supporting you and holding your ropes on the ground. Rock climbing is a great trust exercise so it will help you to feel more confident about your abilities and learn to work with and trust others.

Horseback Riding

A person riding a horse

Horseback riding is another sport that many people feel excluded from. This is primarily due to how expensive it is to buy and own a horse and the elitism associated with it. But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are plenty of stables with affordable riding lessons. 

It might seem a little intimidating at first, especially if you feel nervous around large animals. Horseback riding can definitely be a dangerous hobby, but stables won’t give a newbie a horse that isn’t gentle or slow. 

A lot of people argue that horseback riding isn’t really a sport as the horse is doing most of the work. This isn’t completely untrue as the horse is doing a lot. But that doesn’t mean the rider is just sitting there. Horseback riding requires a lot of leg and core strength. It also requires a lot of coordination and spatial awareness. As well as, to an extent, the ability to understand animals and sense their feelings. It’s important to recognize when a horse is becoming skittish and might bolt. These are all skills that you can learn through horseback riding. 

Horseback riding can be either a solo or social activity. If you are in a position to buy your own horse, then just the two of you spending time together can be incredibly peaceful and fun. Just like humans and other animals, horses need regular exercise, so going riding every day is a good idea. This means that you can have an hour or so every day for just you and your horse. You will become surprised by the relationship you will develop with your horse. It is a bond that people will feel with any pet, but there is something very special about the relations between a horse and their rider. 

Team Sports

Getting involved in team sports is something that most of us associate with school, so don’t consider it as an option in adulthood. The general assumption is that if you haven’t become a professional by the time you leave high school, then you might as well give it up. But this doesn’t have to be the case. 

Team sports, such as football, hockey, basketball, and soccer, are great forms of exercise. As mentioned above, playing with a team will help you to make friends and develop a bond with others. You will also be flexing your critical thinking skills. You will need to consider which route to take, when to pass and who to, and consider your aim when trying to score (depending on the position you play, of course).

Cycling

Cycling is another fun but also practical activity. You can go for bike rides through woodland and countryside during the weekend, and then cycle to and from work during the week. This is a great way to sneak in some outdoor activity into your daily life. It’s also an eco-friendly way to commute and is especially useful if you work in an office and sit down for a lot of your working day.

Cycling can also be a competitive activity. If you train regularly, you might even be able to take part in cycling races or triathlons (if you also enjoy swimming and running). Cycling is fantastic for you as a way of exercising. Cycling is a cardio workout that will benefit your cardiovascular health and help to keep you fit and healthy. 

Due to the fact that you are essentially pushing along a metal machine, cycling is also great for toning. The legs will be the most targeted area, but the abdominal and arm muscles will also get a workout too. 

Whether you will be going for fun family bike rides or intense long-distance street racing, cycling is an endurance sport. This can help you develop your focus and concentration as you only have one task to focus on when cycling. 

Wild Swimming

Wild swimming has become very popular in recent years. Especially due to the wide-ranging health benefits of cold water swimming. Cold water swimming can help with weight loss, boosts your immune system, and can even help ease anxiety. Going in the mornings can also be incredibly useful as the cold water will make you feel very awake. It is an incredibly exhilarating thing to do.

But, you don’t always have to dive into icy waters. And you might be lucky enough to live somewhere with access to warm wild water. Swimming in these waters is still great for you, as swimming has a wide range of health benefits and is a great full-body workout. Just remember to check your local laws around wild swimming and don’t enter any water that could be dangerous. 

Archery

A person trying to hit a practice target with a bow and arrow

Archery is something that we might associate more with historical movies than weekend activities. But it is a super fun sport to get involved with. It will take a lot of time and patience to develop the ability to shoot an arrow well. But it is an incredibly fun activity (not just because it will make you feel as though you’re the hero in a historical movie).

Archery requires a lot of discipline and practice. These are important skills in all parts of life, so regularly attending archery lessons can help develop these. Archery can also help to improve hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. 

Summary

People enjoying their outdoor hobbies in the park

Overall, it is impossible to say that getting into the great outdoors isn’t a good thing. It is beneficial for both your physical and mental health. And it will also allow you to reconnect with nature, which a lot of us who live and work in towns and cities often lose out on.

If you’re trying to spend more time outdoors, getting into a physical activity or hobby is one of the best ways. You can meet new people and get involved with something you have always wanted to do but haven’t had the opportunity.

Being outdoors and moving your body are essential parts of being healthy. So combining these is definitely a good idea.

I am the founder and chief editor here at BowAddicted. I love my kids, archery, and the outdoors! It's been an amazing journey so far with some ups and downs, but it's worth it to spend time outside with friends and family.

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