Why Hobbies Are Important

Why Hobbies Are Important

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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of us have found ourselves with much more free time recently. However, this has brought to light how we, as a country, spend our leisure time. Having a healthy work-life balance is vital to a beneficial lifestyle, though many people don’t use their time outside of work quite as effectively as they could be. In fact, 91.5% of adults over 16 spend the majority of their free time watching TV[i]. This is where hobbies come in. Having engaging hobbies that challenge us and enhance our minds is vital to our development, quality of life and general happiness. So, how do you find a hobby? And what are some good activities to try? Let’s find out!


What are hobbies?

A hobby is simply an activity that someone does for enjoyment and pleasure, usually outside of work – although turning a hobby into a career is always an option! Most people have multiple hobbies they indulge in to help them unwind and relax at the end of a long day while remaining mentally productive.

Why are hobbies important?

Taking part in hobbies that we enjoy is vital to our continued development because they enhance our quality of life. Hobbies provide us with something fun, interesting and challenging to do in our leisure time and help give us a sense of purpose outside of work. The many benefits of partaking in hobbies include:

  • Stress Relief – Hobbies engage us in something we enjoy, meaning we will forget everyday stresses.
  • Interesting Stories – Taking part in hobbies gives us interesting stories and experiences that we can share with other people.
  • Increases Patience – Having to learn something new takes time, so challenging hobbies can increase our patience.
  • New Friends – Hobbies are a great way to bring people together and gives people something to bond over.
  • Increases Knowledge – Starting a new hobby usually requires the acquisition of new knowledge and skills that can be used in everyday life too.
  • Increases Confidence and Self-Esteem – As our knowledge and skills grow, so does our confidence in ourselves.
  • Enriches Life – Through new hobbies, we are exposed to new ideas, theories and people. This helps us grow and can encourage fresh outlooks on life.
  • Decreases Boredom – Having hobbies means we always have something to do and engage with, so we will be less bored in our day to day lives.
  • Prevents Bad Habits and Wasted Time – Filling our time with enriching hobbies means our free time is well spent. In turn, engaging yourself with a fulfilling activity means you are less likely to indulge in negative pursuits.


How do hobbies help mental health?

Research shows that people who regularly engage in hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress and depression. This is because hobbies give us a source of fun and freedom in our lives that can help to minimize the impact of everyday stresses.

The UK’s most popular hobbies

With the developments in technology over recent years, you’d have thought that Britain’s favourite hobbies would have changed drastically. However, the country’s most popular hobbies remain mostly screenless and are all things that anybody could easily slip into their schedule. Here are Britain’s most popular hobbies – where does your favourite rank?

1 Reading
2 Watching TV
3 Family Time
4 Going To Movies
5 Fishing
6 Computer
7 Gardening
8 Renting/Streaming Movies
9 Walking
10 Exercise

How to find a hobby that’s right for you

Now you know the benefits of having hobbies, it’s time to find some! There are so many hobbies you can do in the comfort of your own home that will enrich your life and bring you joy without too much exertion. To get started with a specific hobby, you could take an interest course that will help broaden your knowledge on that subject. Alternatively, you could try your hand at some of Britain’s favourite hobbies and find out what’s for you!

We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite hobbies to help you choose one to try out.



  • Cost – £
  • Indoors/Outdoors
  • Suitable for all ages

Reading remains one of the world’s favourite hobbies because it’s so accessible. Inexpensive and available on multiple platforms, reading allows people to expand their minds and spark their imagination. Reading is especially good for the development of young children, but can be enjoyed by people of all ages – there’s bound to be a book out there for you somewhere! Physical copies of books are available fairly cheaply in local book shops or second-hand stores, though reading apps and devices allow people to easily partake in this hobby wherever they are.



  • Cost – ££ – £££
  • Outdoors
  • Suitable for all ages

They say travel broadens the mind, and they couldn’t be righter. Perfect for all ages, travelling – whether it’s halfway around the world or to the next town over – allows you to disconnect from your everyday life, encourages creativity, exposes you to new things and makes you happier in general. Of course, travelling can easily rack the prices up, but try not to let costs stop you! Road trips are an easy, cheap way of engaging in this hobby, and there are plenty of travelling programmes such as Real Gap Experience that provide you with the opportunity to travel at discounted prices.



  • Cost – ££
  • Outdoors
  • Suitable for teenagers and adults

It may surprise you to know that fishing remains a very popular hobby in Britain. Water has a calming effect on the human brain since the sight or sound of it triggers the release of neurochemicals, so fishing is one of the most relaxing hobbies you could take up. However, you will have to pay for a fishing license, the price of which varies depending on what kind of fish you’d like to catch. Also, you will have to buy or rent the correct equipment.  Since fishing requires patience and stillness, it’s best suited for adults and teenagers.


record collection

  • Cost – £ – £££
  • Indoors/Outdoors
  • Suitable for all ages

Collecting things is such a popular hobby because it allows people to indulge in something they love. You can start a collection of almost anything, making this the perfect hobby for anyone to try. Starting a collection of things you love can increase your knowledge and reduce stress, and is easily done on a budget if you can restrain yourself! Some of the most popular choices for collectables are stamps, coins, vinyl records, comic books, and autographs.



  • Cost – £ – £££
  • Indoors/Outdoors
  • Suitable for all ages

However you choose to enjoy music, it still counts as a hobby. Whether you’re playing along, singing along, or just listening to your favourite tunes, music is one of the most beneficial hobbies out there. Learning instruments increases your knowledge, boosts brain power, builds new skills and increases patience as you learn. Singing releases endorphins and listening to your favourite music has been proven to boost memory, improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.



  • Cost – £
  • Indoors/Outdoors
  • Suitable for all ages

Gardening offers a sense of accomplishment with a bonus – the chance of eating what your hobby produces! Whether you grow fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers or plants, gardening is the ultimate stress reliever, helps release anger and gets you out in the fresh air, all leading to a healthier lifestyle overall. If you don’t have a big outdoor space, you don’t have to be left out! A balcony can easily be transformed with a few hanging baskets and pots, and houseplants are the perfect option to keep inside.



  • Cost – £
  • Indoors/Outdoors
  • Suitable for all ages

Yoga is a completely engaging hobby that requires focus of the body and mind, making it the perfect stress buster and confidence enhancer. Since it can be done anywhere and requires no equipment, yoga is one of the easiest exercises to fit into any routine. There are plenty of lessons available on YouTube, though there’s likely to be a yoga studio nearby that you can join to make this a more sociable hobby. Yoga can be good for the mental health of children, too, so don’t be afraid to get the little ones involved.

Arts and Crafts


  • Cost – £
  • Indoors/Outdoors
  • Suitable for all ages

Creating arts and crafts is an easy hobby to get into and comes with very little limits. Arts and crafts encompasses many artistic pathways, such as painting, sketching, photography, and origami, so there’s bound to be something that you’ll enjoy with this hobby. Creating art has been proven to stimulate the mind, enhance problem solving skills, reduce stress and provide a sense of accomplishment. On top of this, it requires little to no money, meaning you can indulge your imagination whenever you desire.



  • Cost – £
  • Indoors
  • Suitable for teenagers and adults

Shows such as The Great British Bake Off have inspired a whole generation of chefs over recent years, and for good reason. Being able to cook your own food improves your diet and allows you to explore a range of cuisines with wholesome ingredients. Knowing the basics of cooking is essential for everyone but developing those skills into a varied hobby that you can regularly enjoy can relieve stress after a difficult day, give you a deeper understanding of other cultures, and allows you to save money that can go towards your other hobbies!

Turning your hobby into a career

If you find a hobby that you truly enjoy, you may have the option of turning that newfound hobby into a career. Loving your job is vital to your mental health, and how can you love a job more than working in the parameters of one of your hobbies?! Here’s how you can try turning your hobby into a career:

  1. Assess Your Finances – Of course, before you start turning your hobby into your career, you’ll have to ensure you have the financial support to do so. You should start by evaluating your finances and goals, and whether you can afford to make the leap. However, you could take baby steps by keeping your hobby as a side hustle, rather than your main job at first.
  2. Make The Right Connections – Earning money from a hobby requires connections with other people seeking to make money in the same way. Getting involved in groups on social media and apps like Meet Up will help you virtually and literally meet people willing to pay you for this work. However, remember that you are their competitor. Therefore, filter the advice you are given smartly and be prepared to share comments and ideas as well as receive them.
  3. Do Your Research – To succeed in business, even if it is your hobby, requires you to know your market inside out. First, you need to work out how much your customers or clients would be willing to pay for your product or services.  Checking out what others charge online could be a great starting point – but remember to fit this in the context of your experience and the name recognition you bring. Also, remember to find what your market demands from other companions.
  4. Put Your Research To Use – Once you have started and got a feel for how your hobby could make you money, you should begin to plan how to grow the venture. You need a business plan. Writing this plan is not at all glamorous, but if you have any hope of getting outside investment, you need to write a brilliant one. You will be expected to calculate your monthly expenses and balance this against your expected income.  You will need to cost in any new equipment and any membership fees for professional and marketplace associations. You may also need an accountant or someone to prepare your tax.
  5. Start To Get The Word Out – You need to work social media and other online sites – eventually maybe even set up your website.  Gaining some success might be as easy as posting on social media. If you are still working your day job, be sure to be discreet, especially if you are working in competition to your company or it requires you to use knowledge specific to your role.  If you are happy that there is no compromise of your current work, then you can spread the word as much as you like.

Find something you enjoy

The options for new hobbies are endless, but ultimately, it comes down to what you enjoy doing. Give some of Britain’s most popular hobbies a go, and, if you enjoy them, add them into your daily life. However, don’t be afraid to try new things. Whatever it may be – scuba diving, bungee jumping, computer games, writing – it could be the best hobby you ever took up!

What’s your favourite hobby? Let us know in the comments below!


[i] https://www.statista.com/statistics/553674/free-time-activities-adult-participation-uk-england/

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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