Spring is here so what better time to get out and about and find a new healthy hobby to help you de-stress. Hobbies can bring about so many positive benefits; personal fulfilment, increased social connections, improved work-life balance, stress relief and enhanced mental wellbeing. All of this makes for a healthier, happier life.

5 reasons to find an active hobby

  1. Reduce stress: hobbies help us to relax and unwind from the pressure of daily life. Whether it’s gardening, running, sport, sailing, walking or something else they can divert your attention away from stressors and promote a sense of calm
  2. Enhanced self-esteem: achieving goals and developing new skill sets can boost self-confidence and your self-esteem
  3. Mindfulness and relaxation: Focusing on your hobbies requires concentration which can promote mindfulness and help you stay present in the moment
  4. Social connections: There are many clubs that bring people together for hobbies. Here you can meet new people, build friendships and create support networks. Social connections are good for maintaining a healthy mental state
  5. Increased happiness: Taking part in activities that bring you joy gives your mood an automatic boost and increase feelings of happiness. Engaging in active hobbies releases endorphins, which are mood enhancers, and can contribute to a more positive outlook on life.

Hobbies to try

At Southwark Leisure we’ve got so many inspiring active hobbies to get you moving. All are available on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Aqua cycling

It’s exactly what it says it is – cycling in water and you can do it in the swimming pool at The Castle Leisure Centre, SE1. It’s great fun, helps burn calories, builds core strength and improves flexibility and balance. Give this fun class a try! Call the centre for information on 020 7091 4243.

Sailing at Surrey Docks

There’s something very therapeutic and relaxing about being on water. It helps to boost our sense of wellbeing and happiness. Activities such as sailing, kayaking and SUP are not only great fun but can promote relaxation, reduce stress and provide a sense of tranquillity and connection with nature. Get involved at Surrey Docks Fitness and Watersports Centre where there are courses for beginners through to the advanced. The season kicks off mid-April so get ready! www.southwarkleisure.co.uk/activities/#watersports


You won’t be disappointed by the positive mental health benefits of yoga. I’m sure you will have heard your work colleagues, friends or family, raving about how good it makes them feel. Maybe it’s time to see for yourself?

Yoga, an ancient practice deeply rooted in philosophy, blends physical postures, mindful breathing techniques and meditation to create an exercise that nurtures the body and mind. What’s great is its inclusivity. People of all ages, experience and flexibility levels can enjoy yoga – it’s accessible to everyone.

Whether you’re looking for a gentle, relaxing experience or a vigorous workout, there’s a whole range of yoga classes available across the Southwark leisure centres. Visit southwarkleisure.co.uk/fitness-classes for more information.


If you want to get your heart pumping but the gym’s not your thing then badminton is a great choice. Badminton is a fun sport that can be enjoyed around your busy schedule and can be played socially or competitively. The sports hall at The Castle Leisure Centre has courts to hire during the day, evenings and weekends on a pay-as-you-go basis. For more information visit https://southwarkleisure.co.uk/activities/#badminton

Weight lifting

Some people view weight lifting as a form of exercise whilst others see it as a hobby that challenges you both physically and mentally. Great satisfaction can be gained from setting goals, tracking progress, and continuously pushing yourself to stronger limits. Although you can weight lift at home if you’re new to it then it’s best to seek advice from a fitness professional to avoid over exertion and injury.

Dance based exercise classes

Music, movement and friendship; there’s lots of enjoyment to be gained from dance based classes such as Zumba or the popular Les Mills SH’BAM class. Not only will you find your groove you’ll have great fun whilst getting that heart pumping. There’s a whole class programme packed full of different class styles. Check them out at southwarkleisure.co.uk/fitness-classes or download the Southwark Leisure app to book.

It can be daunting embarking upon something new so, get together with a friend and start a new active hobby together and feel the benefits of a healthy mind.