Hobbies With Unexpected Benefits

To many of us, hobbies are seen as something to pass the time between work and bed. In the eyes of many there is little point to them – by their very nature they’re done purely for enjoyment.

But what if that wasn’t the case? What if we could have hobbies that had a secondary benefit? A benefit such as an income, a problem solved, a health improvement or money saved? Perhaps we could and should look at hobbies in a completely different light…

Successful technologies often begin as hobbies. Jacques Cousteau invented scuba diving because he enjoyed exploring caves. The Wright brothers invented flying as a relief from the monotony of their normal business of selling and repairing bicycles.

Freeman Dyson

Many hobbies are dying out. Other hobbies are resurgent – these things are often cyclical. With the advent of technologies such as online shopping, many people are making a full-time living out of things that were previously hobbies. With websites such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy, people are selling their handmade crafts online and giving their hobbies a whole new level of importance along the way!

There benefits to hobbies beyond just enjoyment. Here are a list of common hobbies and their potential side benefits….


In years gone by, cycling was purely a method of transport. It was means of transport and nothing else. With the invention of cycle racing, it gained popularity as a leisure tool as well, but the explosion of affordable cars fewer and fewer people were left cycling as their primary commuting tool.

hobbies with unexpected benefits

Over the last 10 years or so, cycling as a hobby has seen a huge resurgence, with 4.2 million people cycling 3+ times per week in 2016.

As a hobby, it has all kinds of benefits…

  • Saves thousands of pounds in commuting costs (average UK family spend is £73 per week on commuting), whereas average weekly cycling spend is £1. Source.
  • Cuts commuting time down in most UK cities. In central London, average driving speed is now an unbelievable 7.8mph. A moderately fit road cyclist will average double this, reducing commuting time considerably.
  • Improves the health and fitness of the cyclist, removing the need for additional exercise.

Growing Your Own Vegetables/Gardening

Once the preserve of the older generation, more and more young people are turning towards growing their own vegetables at home. There are a few reasons that have been touted for this including saving money on vegetables, an interest in mindfulness, the stress relief of gardening and finally the desire to make use of empty spaces.

hobbies with unexpected benefits

With the gardening product market responding to the call of apartment gardeners, people who don’t even have a garden are now able to grow small amounts at home in wall-mounted planters and apartment-specific gardening pots.

Growing Your Own has benefits such as…

  • Allows you to grow interesting fruit and vegetables that you cant find in shops.
  • Saves you a lot of money – the average UK weekly spend on fruit and vegetables is £7.70 – if you even saved half of this, it’d add up to £174 per year!
  • Gives you an opportunity to get outside and breathe in some fresh air!
  • Gardening can be great exercise, with an average calorie burn of around 300 per hour!

Landscape/Outdoor Photography

With camera technology and editing software more accessible than ever before, photography is a great option as a hobby. The days of professional standard camera equipment being available to a select few are over, with even phone cameras outperforming the very best cameras of yesteryear.

Landscape photography is a great way to explore the countryside (or cityscape) around you, taking nothing but your camera and basic supplies out in search of the perfect shot.

Even better, when you do get that perfect shot you can use it as wall art in your house and sell copies of your pictures on websites such as eBay and Etsy. Share your work and make a little money in the process!

Benefits of photography as a hobby…

  • Spending a lot of time in the great outdoors – some photographers walk over 20k steps per day on their shooting days.
  • Earn some extra money on the side by selling pictures.
  • Learn a series on skills that are useful in all kinds of different ways – taking pictures not only for art’s sake, but improving your photography when it comes to family events!

Woodwork and Carpentry

For the creative and practical among us, woodwork is a way to learn a skill that can both save and earn money whilst improving our practical know-how. Basic hand tools don’t cost a great deal of money and even a decent power-tool set up needn’t break the bank.

hobbies with unexpected benefits

With YouTube showing thousands of how-to guides, you can get started on projects quickly and easily, turning an afternoon into a really productive bit of time spent.

With basic woodwork and carpentry skills you can perform a lot of DIY and restoration jobs at home yourself, plus make some really impressive hand-made gifts for friends and family at Christmas time!

Benefits of a woodwork hobby…

  • Learn new skills to help repair and build around the house.
  • Make and sell items, or even gift them as presents.
  • Practice mindfulness by focussing on single tasks at a time.

Hobbies With Unexpected Benefits

They’re everywhere, really! Whether it’s making money, saving money, improving health, helping you deal with stress or all of the above, a good set of hobbies can be a fantastic boost to our quality of life. We hope this little list has inspired you to revisit an old hobby or start a new one!

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