5 Indoor Hobbies to Build Strength Outside the Gym

by | Updated: December 4th, 2016 | Read time: 4 minutes

Although exploring the great outdoors is an excellent way to spend your spare time, being active indoors is important, too (and can be just as fun!). Engaging in indoor activities challenges your body in new ways and helps to relieve some of the stress from work and life in general. Not to mention, if your workout routine is getting stale or you’re sick of the crowded gym scene, active hobbies provide you with a much-needed respite from the same old thing.

Woman wearing harness, rubbing hands together with chalk before indoor rock climbing | Vitacost.com/Blog

The following five hobbies will give you an opportunity to build strength, meet new people and put your mind and body to the test. So try a few, and as the weather cools down and the temps keeps you from your daily run or walk, who knows—you might just discover your new favorite hobby.

1. Recreational Sports League

Rec leagues are a fun way to be social while getting a workout in. Depending on the sport you choose, they may also force you to use skills you don’t often work on, like agility and speed.

There are many places that offer indoor sports leagues, depending on where you live and what you want to do. Here are a few places to start your search:

  • Local skating rink for hockey leagues and ice skating clubs
  • Local college for broomball, flag football, tennis, kickball and basketball leagues
  • Nearby bowling alley for a bowling league
  • Sport-specific companies—for example, in San Diego, a company called VAVI hosts a variety of different sports leagues

2. Rock Climbing

If you’ve never gone rock climbing before, add this to your list of activities to try this year. Not only was it voted the No. 2 most popular indoor hobby in 2016, but it’s a great way to build full body strength while stimulating your mind. It’s also easy to do without spending any money on equipment because you can usually rent all of it at the rock climbing gym.

With minimal upfront financial investment, it’s an easy hobby to try once or twice to see if it’s something you enjoy.

3. Adult gymnastics class

When you think of gymnastics, the first thing that might come to mind is kids, as this is a popular sport for young athletes. However, they’re not the only ones who can enjoy the benefit of a gymnastics workout.

To get started, look for beginner adult classes at your local gymnastics gym so you can learn the basics. If you’re nervous to take a full class, and just want to get active, look for gyms with “free gym time,” where you can play and learn by yourself for a fee. Most of us have tumbled, cartwheeled and jumped at some point in our lives, so if you keep it light, a solo session in the gymnastics gym will be a safe and enjoyable workout.

4. Boxing and Kickboxing

Take a boxing class and you may be shocked by how out of breath you get. This surprisingly cardio-heavy hobby will help you build major upper body strength while working on your cardio, agility and hand-eye coordination.

While your current gym may offer boxing classes, head to a boxing studio to get the best workout and learn from professionally trained athletes. Many of the trainers in studios have competed and were trained by other skilled boxers, so they know how to properly wrap your hands, teach you how to throw an effective punch and more.

Tell the trainer you’re working with if you’ve had any previous injuries, to avoid too much work on an already weak area of your body.

When you decide to get back into the gym, add some of the boxing basics you’ve learned into your regular workout sessions. Sit-ups with punches, kicking combos and duck-punch combos will all get your heart rate up while adding variety to a sometimes-stale routine.

 5. Yoga Sculpt

While any form of yoga will help you build strength, sculpt classes kick it up a notch by throwing weights and quick movements into the equation. Most yoga studios offer some form of this newly popular style of yoga, in addition to proprietary classes that may be just as challenging.

If it’s you’re first time, start with a beginner class, or practice along with a yoga DVD at home, to learn the basics of common poses and flows. With a good foundation to build off of, you can focus on strengthening your whole body with a yoga sculpt classes.