5 Practical Hobbies That Help You Stay Fit and HealthyI hate going the gym! I think I have been there only 2 or 3 times ever. I feel humiliated: everyone there seems to manage better than me. The other guys lift more weights and lift them more times. And worse – they seem to enjoy it. I don’t. For me exercising in the gym is boring. Even at home, it’s also boring.

If you are in the same boat as me, you’ll like what’s coming. Here is the good news: you can stay fit without visiting the gym. Even better, you can have some fun along the way. And even better, you can see some practical side benefits at the end. Sounds good? Here are five hobbies that combine all of this – hope at least one of them will be interesting for you:

Gardening

Gardening is the most obvious choice for everyone who want to stay fit while gaining some practical use. Some gardening activities – like digging and sometimes watering – are quite intense and load muscles a lot. Other activities like weeding, gathering produce, fertilizing etc, are more quiet and relaxing. The different kind of activities involved in gardening help you develop different muscle groups and improve your overall fitness.

Some people complain of backache after gardening for long time. Obviously it involves bending as most vegetables lay down on the grown. If you have problems with bending focus more on growing trees (fruit or decorative) or consider raised bed gardening.

The obvious practical benefit is that you will hopefully grow fresh organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. When done right this will save you money. And guess what – it will improve your health once again because of eating more fresh organic plants.

Unless you live in all year hot climate, gardening activities usually slow down in the winter. There is a cure for this too – if you can afford it, build a greenhouse. Depending on its type the greenhouse can extend the growing season with several months, thus limiting the slow time to a month or two.

Don’t be upset if you don’t have a backyard. There are various alternatives even for those living in apartments in the cities. Indoor gardening techniques like terrace gardening, hydroponics or aquaponics can give you at least some of the benefits that those who live in the country enjoy.

Utility Cycling

Cycling is proven way to stay fit and lose weight. The problem is that going out with the bicycle just for the sake of being active takes time. And while it’s fun for most people it can quickly turn into a burden when practiced only for the sake of staying fit.

The solution is rather simple: utility cycling. Think about your bicycle as a means of transportation instead of a fitness tool. Go shopping with it – a backpack or cycle trailer will handle most of your grocery purchases. Added benefit: because you can’t put as much load like you would do in the car you will shop less. This means you will also eat less and drink less soft drinks. Cycle to work if possible too.

Finally, cycling can save fuel money or money for taxi or public transportation pass.

Do It Yourself Projects

I know this is kind of vague: this is because it should be. Because every do it yourself project that involves working with your hands has the potential to raise your physical activities. And you should choose projects you are interested in and projects that can bring you some practical benefit at home. For me this would be building an outdoor shed. For you it might be building shelves at home or painting the walls. It doesn’t matter what exactly – most do it yourself project involve some hard work and physical activities that will keep you out of the chair and the TV/computer.

Sites like Instructables are full of tons of interesting DIY ideas for basically anything you can think about. Many people quickly turn doing things yourself into a hobby and execute project after project. It’s really addictive – just be careful not to waste your money. Tools and supplies can be expensive.

The added practical benefit is of course that you’ll get useful, beautiful, or just exciting stuff done with your hands. DIY projects in some areas like home improvement can save lots of money too.

Fishing

“Are you kidding me, staying fit through fishing?!”

Yeah, I know fishing sounds like the laziest hobby you can imagine. But think about it in other way: fishing requires you to reach usually a remote place. Involves walking and often climbing (unless you go all the way by the car!). Bringing stuff with you forth and back. Sightseeing. Fresh air. Often being exposed to cold and rainy weather which reinforces your immune system. Double this if you go to ice fishing.

Just make sure you don’t go all the way to the dam with your car. Make sure there is some walking and when time permits plan some transitions around the place. Fishing will probably never compare to jogging in terms of calorie burning but it does not have to. Light activities are often better for your overall health.

And of course, the practical side: eating fresh fish that you caught yourself! Saves money, and eating fish is healthy.

Wild Fruits and Herbs Gathering

Here’s yet another kind of “hunting”. This one is good even for vegans. From the early spring to the late autumn there are useful fruits and herbs growing in the wild. Get out of your office and go into the woods to collect them. Why? Because once again this combines physical activity with fresh healthy air and practical use. And this hobby has the same double effect like gardening and fishing – improving your health once due to the increased activity and twice due to eating healthy food. And all for free!

On early spring start gathering nettle for soups and pottage. Later wild strawberries come. Then go for plums, raspberries, blackberries and blue berries. At the end of the summer / autumn collect wild apples and rose hips. Meanwhile almost during the entire year you can gather various herbs – chamomile, melissa, mint, and many others. Don’t collect fruits or that you can’t recognize as some might be toxic. Some people collect also mushrooms. I wouldn’t touch them due to the high risk of poisoning but that’s just me.

There is no excuse not to be active. Maybe you are bored by going to the gym or even jogging. You don’t have to do things you don’t enjoy. Find a hobby that involves physical activity and you are all set. Exercising should be fun before anything else. If you can find also some practical use, you’ve hit the jackpot.

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