6 Smart hobbies to try this year

7th February 2016

Hobbies are great.

They’re fun, interesting, sociable, educational and anything else you want them to be. Whether you fancy something quiet and intellectual, or busy and invigorating, there’s a hobby out there for you.

Here are 6 hobbies the Thinking Bob team have already taken up this year!


1. Cryptic Crosswords!

Forget the image of your grandad in his slippers, smoking a pipe and doing the crossword. These days crosswords have been given a modern, fancy twist… it’s all about the CRYPTIC crosswords!

Cryptic crosswords are crossword puzzles where not only do you have to solve the clues to find the words, but the clues themselves are a puzzle. Sound complicated? That’s because it is. But if you can join a group and start learning the tricks together, before long you’ll be showing off your amazing crossword skills to your friends.

Not only that, you’ll also help protect your brain from dementia, improve your verbal skills, AND speed up your problem solving skills.

How’s that for smart hobbying!

2. Reading

There’s nothing quite like a good book to get the brain moving!

If you join Goodreads (for free), you can start recording all the books you read. You can even set yourself a Challenge for the year, and have a goal to aim for.

Not sure what books are good, or feel that reading can be a bit boring and isolating? Then why not join a book club! These are great for helping promote discussion, and it’s a great way to meet new people AND get great recommendations for new books.

There are plenty of groups to choose from, scattered across the whole world, and we even have one here at Thinking Bob: a branch of  Poppy Loves Book Club. At the moment I’m afraid it’s only for the ladies, but if you’re a guy and want to start up and host your own book club, please do get in touch! We’d love to have you on board 🙂


3. Learn to code

These days, basic coding skills are as essential a lifeskill as using spreadsheets and word processing programmes. It can open a whole new range of opportunities in life as well as work, and it’s really not as hard to pick up as you’d imagine.

There are plenty of paid courses available both online and in person (General Assembly is one of our favourites for classes on anything digital!), but if you just want to learn the basics, we’d recommend Codecademy as a great starting place for basic coding.

You could be setting up your very own website in no time!

4. Debating

Debating is another great hobby that involves skills that could be useful in the future.

Decades of academic research have proven that there are tons of benefits to developing your debating skills. You’ll learn to use rational and reasonable arguments, and to provide evidence that supports them. It also helps boost confidence, improve vocabulary and speech composition, AND it’s also really good fun.

Check out groups such as the Great Debate Club, where you can take a 12 month course on debating, or simply head down to one of Debating London‘s public debates and get stuck in!

secret london running tour

5. Running

At one point or another, everyone has considered taking up running, whether as a hobby, or simply as a necessary evil for getting fitter. But why not combine your running with something (let’s face it) more fun?

The team at Secret London Runs organise group runs that also incorporate a guided tour of some of London’s most historically interesting areas. You can fit in your daily run whilst learning about the debauchery of Southwark in the 16th century!

Or if you’re into treasure hunts and puzzles, why not give City Dash a try? Dash across the city with your team, crack the clues and outwit (or outrun!) the security guards who are out to get you. It’s crazy, mad and adrenaline-pumping fun and you’ll definitely get your miles in for the day!

Whatever you choose, smart running is the way forward if you want to exercise your mind as well as your body!

6. Learn an instrument

Bob told us recently that he’s always wanted to learn how to play the trombone… kind of tricky when you’re just a 2D stickman, but he’s going to give it a good go!

If you fancy learning an instrument but aren’t sure where to start, why not have a look online for group classes where you can rent out an instrument? Usually you just pay a refundable deposit, and you can get your money back at the end of the session. It’s much less commitment than spending a lot on an instrument you’re not even sure you’ll enjoy!

One of our favourite classes is the Ukelele introduction at Queen of Hoxton. It runs every Monday and is great for musical beginners! It’s free to attend and you’ll be strumming away in no time.

Ukulele Karaoke

So there you have it, 6 smart hobbies to try in 2016!

Got another hobby you’d like to try, but don’t want to go alone? Email [email protected] and let us know.

We can organise an event for you, and find interested bobbers to join you on your hobbying adventure!

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