Make Health a Hobby
We love our hobbies, especially if they are outdoors. Our active hobbies bring us a great deal of fulfillment, help us maintain our creative edge, and balance our stress levels. They are also a significant motivation for us to live a healthy lifestyle.
If you were to ask either of us what our top 5 hobbies are right now, we would both reply with “travel, fitness, healthy living, skiing, and backpacking.” Five years ago, fitness and healthy living would not have made the cut. They make the cut now because we have learned how to make our health a hobby. Here’s what we mean by that.
*Cool side note – backpacking wouldn’t have made the cut either. Our focus on health made it possible. We now offer a free backpacking fitness plan.
what it means to make health a hobby
I am a hobby junkie. From soccer to trail running to hockey to hunting, I’ve dabbled in the dozens. I love learning about new hobbies, sports, and activities and then put myself to the test. I’ll always be an engineer at heart, so I love optimizing, figuring out new techniques, and reading up on the latest research.
Over the last five years, I have applied this approach to my fitness and healthy living in addition to my active hobbies. I’ve since adopted a new mindset and philosophy, which has helped me make health a hobby. Being healthy is challenging, just like our hobbies challenge us. Living a healthy lifestyle is life-changing, just like our hobbies should be.
According to a 2015 study, participants who engaged in hobbies, defined as “self-selected, self-rewarding behavioral pursuits that take place during non-working time,” were found to have a more positive mood, higher interest level, reduced stress, and lower heart rates.
The data also suggested that hobbies improve job performance, increase creativity, and give the brain some time off for some relaxation.
how to make health a hobby
1. Hobbies bring joy.
Do you have a hobby that you love so much you’ll drop everything to do it? Yeah, us too! For us, that’s skiing, and when we wake up in the morning and see fresh powder on the ground, we’re out! Skiing brings us joy, so it’s easy to make it a priority.
Hobbies bring joy through thrill and exhilaration. They let us leave our hectic, stressful lives behind for a few hours. Your health and fitness can also provide an outlet and bring joy. Our morning workouts together as a couple are fun. Similarly, cooking or sharing a meal is a time for us to focus on our relationship and well-being.
Find a way to make your health and fitness enjoyable so that you can prioritize it every day. Keep in mind that your workout might not always bring you joy. However, the reason why you work out should always bring you joy.
2. Hobbies are about the Journey, Not the Destination.
The time you spend on those morning runs before a marathon or those nights spent practicing with your basketball team is more meaningful than the outcome of any competition. It is during this time you experience camaraderie, feel the improvement from last week’s practice, and the joy of spending time doing what you love.
With health and fitness, it shouldn’t feel any different! Too often the perception of health involves a monotonous treadmill run followed by carrot sticks. Not true at all. Nutrition and fitness are about the journey of understanding your body and being grateful for the progress, day by day.
Set yourself up for success in your journey by using words to empower yourself. Also, make sure you’re not falling victim to a fad diet by focusing too much on the destination. Invest your time, hard work, and joy in the small steps that will build up a strong foundation.
3. Hobbies Build Confidence.
When we first started skiing together, Alex was shy around me because her form wasn’t perfect. Luckily, she got over it fast because it’s fun skiing together, regardless of the imperfections. The key was not to compare herself with others.
When it comes to fitness and nutrition, too many people look at their progress (often comparing themselves to a friend) and feel guilty, stressed, deflated, or worse, make excuses. No one is expecting perfection. People fall off the horse all the time.
The point is to know it’s alright, try again, and continue moving forward because it brings happiness and value into your life. You’ll get better at it with practice, just like any other hobby!
4. Hobbies Require Equipment.
If rocks damaged our skis, would we pay to have them resurfaced and waxed? Absolutely. With our hobbies, we don’t hesitate to invest in equipment, from ski goggles to helmets to a new GoPro, to make the experience richer.
Treat your health the same way. There is no better investment in supplying yourself with the equipment to become successful. For Alex and I, that means traveling with our spiralizer, favorite salt from Peru, yoga mats, face masks, travel pillows, and resistance bands for our Beachbody On Demand workouts.
Do yourself a favor and invest in high-quality equipment. For your health, that means buying organic food when possible, eating more vegetables, reducing the amount of junk food in your home, and eating healthy carbs. You’re supporting your hobbies for the longterm so treat your health the same way. Don’t cheap out!
5. Hobbies Turn You Into a Student.
Whether it means watching Chariots of Fire or reading Paper Lion, you’ll look to gain inspiration and tips to better your game. The same is true for your health. Seek out a mentor, do some research on how to manage your diets as a couple, or learn about intermittent fasting. Next, implement what you learn.
Becoming a student puts you in the driver seat. In your health journey, it’s relevant to journal, study what works, and keep an open mind to welcome change and variety. It takes time, experimentation, and practice, just like your hobbies.
6. Hobbies Create Community.
When I think about it, most of my best friends are from soccer or engineering school. No matter what, we always want to hang around like-minded people who share our interests. The same goes for health.
There are people out there at the same stages of their health journey as you are. We see connections happen all the time through our accountability groups where real friendships arise over the years.
7. Hobbies Take Prioritization.
Everyone only has 24 hours a day, so why not make time for a few hours filled with things you love? Alex and I have the luxury of maintaining flexible schedules around ski season and snow now that we work remotely. While we are incredibly grateful for that time and opportunity, we also designed it intentionally.
Still, the days can get away from us, so we always start it off with our morning workout. We know what time and where. How about you? When and where are you going to work out tomorrow and how can you best utilize this time?
What days are you going to grocery shop and which nights do you have time to cook? The time spent on your health (including sleep) is sacred. Protect it, and you’ll live a happier life, same as with your hobbies.
Thanks for reading about how we make health a hobby. In the comments below, please share any other pointers on making a healthy lifestyle fun!
Sit down together and write down three ways you plan to make health a hobby. Perhaps inserting variety into your workouts, reading a personal development book, or finally visiting a physical therapist for some back pain. We would love to hear what you plan to do and keep you accountable, so comment below to make it official!
- Dr. Oz’s Top 10 Health and Fitness Tips of All Time – SHAPE – “Losing weight isn’t all about cutting calories. Your brain is looking for nutrients, not calories, and [your brain] will prod you to eat until you’re satisfied,” says Dr. Oz
- The Story After ‘Chariots of Fire’ – New York Times – “Because Liddell was born in China and died here, some refer to him as the country’s first Olympian.”
Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “happiness engineers.” After eight years working as corporates engineers internationally, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — leading couples to engineer their best lives. The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship, as a couple.