Training takes focus, commitment, and discipline — lots of all three. Sometimes it can get too much. That’s why it’s important to have a good hobby that serves as a distraction from the training. Hobbies are a fantastic stress reliever and will keep you motivated so that when it’s time to go back to the gym or training ground again, you still get the same enjoyment out of the session, no matter how hard you know it’s going to be. They can also benefit your training itself. Is your workout regime getting you down just now? Here are five hobbies you could try to turn things around:
Swimming is a terrific hobby because it’s all about drive and determination, not just going up and down the pool. The water acts as resistance, and you’ve got to learn to cut through it as fast and as smoothly as possible. This means refining your technique constantly to be able to swim faster, to swim the full length of the pool in fewer strokes, to stay flatter in the water etc., which takes practice and perseverance.
Swimming is a good all-over body workout, too so if you fancy some time away from the weights or the treadmills, spending some time in the swimming pool will serve you well. Breaststroke and butterfly work the arms, shoulders and chest, whereas backstroke will make your back, abs and quads stronger. You can vary your workouts with interval training and the use of kickboards, hand paddles or water weights. These will help you build fitness and tone your physique.
Now, reading might not seem like much of a hobby, but you’ll develop new skills you can apply to your fitness plan. Read and capitalize on your newfound knowledge to improve your fitness plan and training. Through your reading you can discover new ways to work out or new approaches that you hadn’t considered before. You can learn from experts in the field who have been there and achieved what you want to achieve.
Not only that, reading requires a lot of patience. As you read, you’ll develop the patience to put into practice the things you’re reading and persevere with them. The results of the new methods could take some time. They won’t just happen overnight, but when they do materialize you know they’ll be worth it.
High risk pursuits
Mountain biking, mountain climbing, sky diving and other high-risk pursuits can really benefit your training. They force you to push back your boundaries and take calculated risks. Let’s face it: climbing a mountain or throwing yourself out of a plane takes serious guts, guts which you can bring to your workout as well. If something isn’t working, you won’t think twice about trying something different; and even if something is working, you’ll still feel tempted to experiment and give something else a go, either for the sake of it or just to see if it has better results than you’re already experiencing. It’s all about growth, and those who dare, win.
You can’t beat a bit of gaming, and there are all kinds of benefits to be had from it as a hobby. Research has found that gaming can reduce anxiety — for instance, in one piece of research, children who played games before surgery were found to feel almost no anxiety by the time they went into the operating theatre — so if you have an upcoming event that is making you a bit anxious, playing a game online or on a console could calm those nerves, simply because it shifts the mental focus from the event to the game.
One of the other benefits of gaming is that it can even motivate you to exercise. If you’re struggling to get up and get yourself into the gym, a bit of gaming might help you find that motivation again. Try a virtual workout first. Eventually, you’ll start feeling motivated to get yourself back into a brick and mortar gym to do the real thing!
Finding the right game for your is a question of personality, though. You’ve got to know yourself. If you want to completely unwind, something like The Sims will be perfect. If you’re more of a risk taker, you might prefer an online slot. Whatever game suits your personality, you’re guaranteed to have a great time playing it.
A hobby trains you gradually to enter that magical state of flow, which is especially the case when you’re doing something you love. They encourage a state of mindfulness because you’re concentrating fully on the task at hand, allowing you to be in the present moment.
Pottery is one example of a hobby that fosters mindfulness. Your mind and body are connecting so that you can create a work of art, which calls for full concentration. These are benefits which transfer to other areas of your life, which can include your training. You’ll be able to focus more during your workout, get into the flow state and, ultimately, get more than usual out of the session. Not only this, pottery, despite being a gentle movement, strengthens the arms, hands and wrists, which will come in handy for weight training and a variety of sports where use of these parts is a key component.
An extra hobby will work real magic for your main form of training. You also give yourself a break from the mental demands of your training. This break revitalizes your motivation and allows you to return to the gym or the training ground with renewed enthusiasm. Your hobby can encourage you try to new approaches, improve your focus, and even develop positive traits such as patience and the will to persevere. Find yourself a hobby, and then go out and attack that workout!