How having a hobby can help you lose weight and get healthier

Do you often tell yourself that you just don’t have enough time in the day to exercise, cook or do the things you really want to do, only to find yourself on the couch three episodes deep into the newest Netflix series? Yeah, me too.

It’s just easier, it’s relaxing and requires no effort – but at the same time feels like a bit of a waste of time (unless it’s a really good series…). I mean, I could be writing a book, painting a masterpiece, training for a marathon, learning a new language, practicing a new skill, changing career, making millions! – you get the point. Even when I have the best intentions when I wake up, by the end of the day when I’m tired and stressed out Netflix or scrolling through social media is just easier – but so unsatisfying sometimes.

It generally involves sitting down, being inactive, probably snacking and being bombarded with fake images of heavily curated Instagram feeds of people who want you to think that their life is amazing. I think these are two major contributors to people nowadays feeling lonely, isolated, not good enough and unsatisfied with their current situation and also for our rising levels of obesity and inactivity.

Now while I’m not suggesting giving up Netflix or social media I think that it’s a good idea to have other hobbies and interests purely for your own physical and mental wellbeing. When I was doing my placement in the weight loss clinic this year, one of the things we used to tell clients was to find an activity they could do to replace sitting down watching TV and snacking. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Some suggestions people came up with included reading a book in the evening, writing, painting or drawing, going for a walk, skyping a friend, photography, knitting, crafts, boardgames with the family etc. When you’re doing something that you don’t associate with food or doesn’t make you want to snack then you won’t be as likely to.

If you want something a bit more structured then why not enroll in an evening class? There are tonnes of classes across any subject area you can think of and these can be done either online or in person. I like the idea of doing them in person as it’s a chance to get out of the house, meet new people, ask questions and get hands on experience. In the past I’ve done art and dressmaking classes and really enjoyed them. I know others who’ve things like creative writing and language classes. It would only take up an hour or two a week and they aren’t too expensive (some online ones are free). I feel like having a set time, once a week where you are doing something you want to do works better than telling yourself “I’ll paint some night this week”. You’ve paid up, booked the time so you’re much more likely to actually go and do it. The same also is true for group gym classes and bootcamps. If you tell yourself you’ll go to the gym tonight it’ll be easier to back out than if you have a bootcamp booked and prepaid for at 7.30pm. At least this works for me anyway!

If you’re looking to take up a class or hobby then here are a few links I’ve come across. Most towns and cities will have evening courses running in local schools or colleges so it’s well worth checking out, you’ll never know what you could find and what you could be doing this time next year!

  • Galway Technical Institute: This is wear I did the art and dressmaking classes and I really liked them. I also know people who’ve done the creative writing and Spanish classes and loved them. They have everything from digital marketing, life drawing, yoga, interior design and Swedish massage to scriptwriting. Check out the full list here.
  • If you’re in Dublin then have a look at some the courses in Pobalscoil Neasain Adult Education. They have some great courses starting at the end of January and they run for between 8-10 weeks. The classes sound really interesting and unique and something to suit everyone from baking, bridge, chalk painting and decorating, cookery for beginners (brilliant idea!), crochet, painting, sewing, sketching, woodwork, yoga and mindfulness (to name a few!). Prices range from 60-120 euro and some of the courses include starter packs so it’s great value on top of learning a new skill and meeting new people! Check out their Facebook page here.
  • If you aren’t in Dublin or Galway then you can check out these two websites to search for evening classes in Ireland by  location and category; findacourse.ie and nightcourses.com
  • If you want to do a course but don’t like the idea of going to a group or you just don’t have the time or money or whatever reason then check out this website called Future Learn. I’m pretty sure that they have a course for absolutely anything! They’re free and most are run by top universities. I did a course in Exercise for the Prevention and Treatment of Disease which was run by lecturers from Trinity College Dublin. It’s made up of videos, text and short test your knowledge quizzes. You can buy a certificate at the end of it but I didn’t. Some of the courses starting soon include; Android App Development, Starting a Business, Taoism and Western Culture, Finance Fundamentals, Languages for Beginners, Genealogy, Introduction to Robotics – basically anything you can think of or need to know!

 

I hope this post gives you a bit of inspiration and sparks some ideas or interests in your mind. I feel like as we got older a lot of us put our hobbies or passions to the side but there’s no reason we can’t make a bit of time for them again, especially if you enjoy doing them! 

Aisling

 

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