It’s easy to fall into the modern trap of doing little more than eat, sleep, and work, with the occasional imbibing, romance, and television thrown in. This is survival, but it can hardly be called living. As a man it is important to be well-rounded so that you find greater balance in your life and avoid becoming another drone; just a cog in the machine; another brick in the wall. This is why you should develop hobbies. Not just to add to your doubtlessly impressive skill set, but to become a better guy and a happier human being.
There’s innumerable benefits to garnering a rich array of hobbies. Not only will it make your overall satisfaction higher, it tilts the work/life balance in favor of living, makes you markedly more interesting, and can actually help you live longer. The British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that people with more hobbies had extended lifespans when compared with those who did nothing more than work and stare at the television. Point of fact, they found hobbies to be as important as exercise for increasing longevity. To help you on your quest for eternal life, we found the 50 best hobbies for men.
Not only will learning programming make you indispensable in the workplace, it will also make you the modern mechanic and hero to Luddites both near and far. With a computer as your friend, the digital world becomes your personal playground, no door is truly closed to you, and the machines always do your bidding. In addition: no one can resist a man who talks in literal code.
Never again need to fill your beer growler with another weak, overpriced microbrew. With a little knowledge and a soupçon of time, you’ll have the most impressive lager, ale, or stout in your postal district. Nothing makes you more beloved or helps to while away the hours like a fully stocked kegerator.
Being able to whip up a gourmet meal is especially important for the single man looking to impress potential mates. It also means you’ll be able to save money and titillate the palettes of friends and family; not to mention turn your home into the finest restaurant in town. Art that you can eat is truly the most rewarding.
You can make everything from a passport holder to a full saddle for your bucking bronco if you learn to work in the medium of leather. Though this frontier art is slowly dying off, becoming one of the few guys who knows what “skiving” means will make you a man among men.
Riding in a car is just another form of television, albeit a slightly more involved one. Instead of staying safe with your airbags and thousands of pounds of steel keeping you in a rolling cage, learn to live on the edge. Motorcycling is the next best thing to flying and the biggest adrenaline rush you can get short of jumping out of a plane.
Part science, part superstition, part sport, part Zen mental exercise, golf is truly the thinking sportsman’s game. A set of clubs, a collared shirt, a pair of golf shoes, and a country club membership is all you need to see why golf is the greatest Scottish export outside of Glenmorangie Scotch.
Learning to work with wood means you’ll never again need to go to IKEA for anything. You’ll be able to craft gorgeous furniture that is as striking as it is functional. The combination of artisanal craft and utilitarian skill makes woodworking an imperative hobby for the man who believes that something beautiful should also be able to do a job.
Any DIYer with a hammer and drill can do basic repairs, but they are still at the mercy of whatever contractor happens along if they want to do a serious remodel on their home. Even if you just develop the fundamental skills, knowing Molly Bolts from Sleeve Anchors can save you a bundle in the long run and make sure you’re nobody’s fool.
Everyone who actually works for a living could use a little relaxation, and meditation is ideal for that. Moreover, you can find you have more energy, more stamina, and better awareness if you meditate on a regular basis. Even if you don’t find inner peace, you’ll find much more outer happiness by learning to still your turbulent mental waters.
Prowess on the dance floor will make you more attractive, but more than that, you’ll find that it enhances your natural rhythm, flexibility, and balance. Most athletes are exceptional dancers because the skills learned on the floor of the ballroom translate into any athletic activity. Learn to twirl and two-step and you’ll be better on the football field or in the boxing ring.
You’ll find that managing your money is often more important than how heavy your paycheck is. Don’t sweat social security, retirement, or even basic budgeting; instead, learn to invest and let compounded interest make your money do all the work for you. A fat nest egg is the ideal reward for a successful hobby.
Cars have become complicated machines that are as much computer as they are engine, but knowing how to fix the engine is still the backbone of keeping your car running. Besides, you’ll never be taken advantage of by a corrupt mechanic if you’ve got a little engine repair know-how under your belt.
The end of the world might not be drawing nigh, but natural disasters can happen at any time. Your local infrastructure is one hurricane, tornado, earthquake, fire, or celebratory riot away from anarchy. Being ready for the end of days also means you’re ready for life’s lesser calamities.
You’re better than the average selfie-snapping tween. Learning the skill of photography allows you to capture the moments of the world even if you have no skill with pen or brush. It also dovetails nicely with any other interests in your life since you can photograph anything under the sun.
A self-defense knife is a fine thing to have on hand, but knowing how to protect yourself empty-handed is even better. Not only can you learn to keep yourself safe, but gain discipline, peace of mind, and respect for yourself and others. You’ll also find a level of calm and centeredness that is at the core of every martial art discipline.
You probably will never find a map to buried treasure, but geocaching is the next best thing. It’s a worldwide scavenger hunt that requires nothing but a little time, a handheld GPS and a pair of hiking boots. You’ll find adventure is just a set of coordinates away. For an extra challenge, use only a map and compass.
A good road bike, mountain bike, or even cruiser bike is all you need to enter a world of fitness, pleasure, and join an enormous community. Save money and the environment by commuting to work or go bombing down the steepest hills for a thrill like few others. There’s few groups as welcoming and few kinds of exercise quite as utilitarian or as enjoyable.
There’s nothing more manly nor more satisfying than being able to use fire to bend metals to your will. Make useful tools, design your own throwing knives, or devise delicate sculptures that make iron look light as air. Metalworking is the perfect intersection of art and craft.
Music should be more than just pressing a play button and letting Apple Music do all the work. Becoming a vinyl collector and turntable aficionado will open your eyes and ears to the rich sounds you never knew you were missing. Once vinyl has its hooks in you, you’ll never touch an mp3 again.
You don’t need to be a hunter or even a gun nut to get the benefits of this hobby. Knowing how to use a firearm is an important skill, and a day at the gun range can be relaxing, fun, and cathartic in the manner of safely controlled destruction. Plus, let’s face it, shooting is fun.
POOL / BILLIARDS
It’s not bad to be able to scam at pool like Vince in The Color of Money, but even if you never learn all the rules to 9-ball, you’ll develop a cool head, a keen eye, and all the nuanced physics and mathematics that go into the game. A skilled player is part artist, part analyst, and part hustler.
With the rise of drones, the interest in remote controlled vehicles has never been bigger. Whether you’re looking to dazzle with aerial acrobatics or learn airborne camerawork, you’ll discover your inner child the minute you pick up the controller. Eventually you’ll also learn mechanics and be capable of building your own miniature quadcopters.
It might seem dull at first, but when you consider how much money can be made from digging up artifacts and how fascinating and deep the world becomes when you know more of its history, you’ll be dying to pick up the Archaeology hobby. Plus, it gives you an excuse to wear a fedora and a carry a whip.
CLASSIC CAR / MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION
Being able to revive the gorgeous vehicles of yesteryear pays homage to truly classic cars, gives you indispensable mechanical knowledge, and can make you a load of money on the side. You’ll learn to respect the mechanical arts, and your hot rod collection will be the envy of men around the world.
Yes, this might be a disgusting hobby, but learning about water pressure, drainage, and recirculation in this era of drought and rising utility costs is worthwhile. You’ll also become the master of your home’s water supply and wise in the ways of fixing every dangerous leak.
Coaching a young man, mentoring a troubled child, or giving back to your community will give you that warm glow of satisfaction that Mother Theresa had all the time. Taking volunteering on as a hobby offers the potential for immense personal growth and makes the world better for all. Wearing a habit and wimple are optional.
SLEIGHT OF HAND
Doing magic might seem like a ridiculous hobby that your strange uncle Milton did to impress the kids, but it’s more than that. Learning dexterity and concentration will improve your manual dexterity, hand/eye coordination, and even the psychology of human attention. In addition, you’ll be able to dust off that top hat and tails you’re dying to don.
Teach yourself to fish and you’ll feed yourself for a lifetime. The bounty of the sea is the ideal place to find food for nearly no cost, and the relaxation that comes from a day in your fishing kayak out on the lake is worth all the time in the world. Plus, beers you drink while fishing don’t count.
Making your home your castle is about more than just tossing in a recliner and an enormous TV. You should be able to show off your personal style and make your domicile appealing to guests. The right decor turns your home into the go-to gathering place the next time you fire up the grill for a Super Bowl extravaganza.
It goes without saying that the increased legalization of marijuana has made horticulture and gardening lucrative hobbies to have; but for beautifying your home, reducing the cost of food by growing your own, and enhancing your natural environment, few things are more important than gardening.
HOROLOGY / WATCHMAKING
Probably one of the most intensely involved hobbies on the planet, learning the operation, building, and repair of antique watches is endlessly complex. The gears and miniscule mechanisms that go into classic timepieces will keep your enthralled for hours and teach you motor skills and concentration.
Video games are fast and fun, but analog games are far more personal. There’s a level of social enjoyment that comes from bonding over cards or backgammon that you just won’t find during an intense frag-fest, no matter how nice your gaming laptop is. You’ll also find far fewer racial slurs than there is in online gaming.
A well-equipped bug out bag is meaningless if you don’t know how to backpack like a professional. You’ve also never truly experienced how much there is to nature if you’ve never slung a backpacking tent over your shoulder and headed out into the wilds where real men’s mettle is tested.
PLAYING AN INSTRUMENT
You’ve probably picked up a guitar at some point in your life for a couple of quick strums, but learning the language of music whether you choose to become a sax man, a keyboard player, a banjo picker, or just hell on the old skins is incredibly fun and has undeniable sex appeal.
HAM RADIO OPERATION
Imagine the internet without the anonymity where you can actually interface with real people from around the world. HAM radio has seen a resurgence of late and is a fascinating hobby that can be as deep or as casual as you like. It is also a tremendous survival skill to develop since radio can survive many disasters that black out television and the internet.
Learn to be your own broadcaster and let your voice be heard! Podcasting is the wild west of online communities and the ideal hobby for anyone who wants to put out information but doesn’t want to go to the trouble of writing a blog. Share stories, opinions, thoughts, ruminations, advice, or anything else you want all over the downloadable airwaves.
Archery can be used for hunting, but it is also a meditative practice that doesn’t require sitting still and listening to your breathing. Add in a good recurve bow and it becomes an exercise for your body as well as your mind. Also, archers are undeniably badass.
KNITTING / SEWING
Rumor has it that Mr. T did needlepoint to help relax, which means he pities the fool who doesn’t take up this hobby. Being able to make and repair your own clothes is a perfect way to save money, but you can also develop a dashing style that is truly all your own. Make personalized touchscreen gloves or craft a full silk leisure suit. It’s up to you.
Collecting works for everything, from baseball cards to classic NES games to stamps. There’s loads of money to be made in the world of collecting, but it is also satisfying in its own right to accumulate a complete set of books, coins, or wines from around the world. And trust us, talking about your collection is scintillating dinner conversation.
If you want to paint or draw, but don’t have the natural knack, you can begin by improving your handwriting. This helps enhance your control of fine motor skills and lets you write a striking letter that will be cherished by the recipient. Elegant penmanship is a dying art and one that shows you have true refinement.
HIKING / ROCK CLIMBING / ICE CLIMBING / MOUNTAINEERING
Humans have always sought to chase the horizon and conquer the highest mountain, but doing either of those things takes practice and dedication. Being able to kiss the sky and knock on the door of heaven with your feet on the ground will show the peaks of the world whose planet this is.
Not only will learning a foreign language make travel easier, but it actually changes the way you think. Polyglots report that they expanded not only the nimbleness of their tongue, but actually learned to find new states of mind as their vocabulary advanced.
BLOGGING / JOURNALING / WRITING
Imparting your thoughts and ideas to the world through writing is important. There is at least one story in each of us and being able to tell it effectively is a skill that unborn generations will treasure. Make sure your tale is not lost to the ages by scrawling it down.
DRAWING / SKETCHING / PAINTING
Probably the simplest of all the hobbies you can adopt, this is the soul of creation. Since humankind first sketched on cave walls, drawing has been in our blood. It transcends language and is the first and purest form of art and expression. It doesn’t matter if you’re good, only that you make the attempt.
Obstacle Course Races (OCRs) go along with crossfit as one of the most popular new ways of getting and staying in shape. You can devote your entire life to mud runs and live happily doing so. They’re fun, challenging, and an ideal way to meet people for a few laughs and a lot of dirt.
Hopefully you’ll never have to experience the horror of a real firefight, but getting the thrill of battle without the true agony of defeat can be had through a game of paintball. You’ll learn effective battle strategy, combat tactics, teamwork, and get to put a few welts on that guy with the big mouth. Hard to beat with any stick.
SAILING / CANOEING / KAYAKING
While you’re going to get mocked if you do these hobbies with an eyepatch and a parrot, we still suggest you make a go of it. The high seas have challenged and fascinated men for generations, and learning to master them and ride the waves is exciting whether it’s done on a kayak or a million-dollar yacht.
SCUBA DIVING / SNORKELING
The final frontier on Earth is the alien wonders that sit at the bottom of the ocean. Since space exploration isn’t a rational hobby to take up, spending your time diving into the deep blue is as close as you can come. Words fail to describe the marvels that await you where Davy Jones hangs his hat.
From train sets to ships in bottles, there’s an endless array of models that you can build whether you want to make your own Death Star in your basement or construct a scale to revisit the battle of Gettysburg. Model building is the hobby that works with any other interest you may have.
CIGARS AND SPIRITS
The true mark of a gentleman is how well he knows his liquor and his cigars. Vices are one of the main things that separates human from animal, so you should revel in yours. The best part about these hobbies is they give you extensive knowledge that will help you get a good buzz at the end of the day.