Lego, Knitting, and Sex – Britain’s Favourite Hobbies

Lying down isn't a hobby, but after eight hours of work and an hour's commute, it's the most many Brits can find the energy for. Yet the average painter, coder, or model train enthusiast spends an entire working day honing their craft each week. It's not as colossal a feat as it sounds; simply reading a book on the train home each day adds up to a good few hours of "me time", rare moments spent at Hogwarts instead of the delayed 17:57 to Doncaster.

Celebrity Watching

Numbers from AXA Insurance indicate that almost every person in the country (95%) has a hobby, with the lion's share of our affections going to reading; that figure differs with the Daily Mail's appraisal of Brits' favourite time-wasters, which places travelling, baking, and sport in the top three slots. Perhaps the most remarkable insight the two sources offer is how anachronistic our cherished hobbies are – none of the top hobbies involve technology in either list.

Brits also prefer knitting and crafts to sex, and like Lego more than watching live music. However, the influence of the internet and new technology is having some effect on our tastes; around half of the pastimes listed in the country's top twenty involve mobile devices, cameras, tablets, and games consoles of some description. For example, gaming comes fourth, social networking stands in eighth, and "celebrity watching" is the country's 16th most popular hobby.Source: Pixabay.

Flappy Bird

It's impossible to overstate the importance of the smartphone as a bridge between British people and their hobbies. For instance, the popularity of gaming is likely buoyed by apps like Fallout Shelter and Flappy Bird, as well as the evolving iGaming niche, inclusive of casino and bingo brands. A reported 8% of all gamers in Britain play bingo either on their smartphone or on a website, with 47% of those people playing to relax.Much of bingo's appeal as a hobby comes from its community aspects and the variety of experiences on offer at online bingo sites. For example, Fabulous Bingo offers regular chat games with six different hosts, as well as side apps like slot machines, scratch cards, roulette, and 3-card brag. The website also runs regular promotions, including new player and deposit bonuses, and a "100 Club" that has a guaranteed £100 prize fund.

Brain Disorders

The obvious question to ask is – why bother taking on a hobby? Lacking creativity or a fondness for Second World War-era tanks, why not while away the evening hours in front of Judge Rinder? The simple answer is that hobbies have benefits as disparate as improving time management, stress reduction, and enhancing social interactions. Psychology Today notes that pastimes make for more interesting people by giving them more things to talk about with friends.For more senior members of society, there's evidence that hobbies preserve neuroplasticity (the brain's ability to grow and repair) and cognitive reserve (the mind's resistance to physical damage to the grey matter), with Alzheimer's Research UK citing puzzles and card games as a potential but unproven factor in a person's ability to fend off degenerative brain disorders. Separate studies have demonstrated similar benefits from video gaming.

Astronomy

For many people, financial restrictions present a barrier to picking up a new hobby but the cost of entry for many pastimes is actually quite low. For example, things like walking and running, app-based language learning, juggling, origami, writing, and drawing are virtually free, making use of items that most people own anyway. Similarly, getting started with astronomy and bird watching is more a test of patience than a person's wallet.

Source: Pexels.

Finally, while a quarter of people in 2013 cited TV as their favourite hobby, the idiot box has a proven ability to push people into more rewarding pursuits. Again, to borrow figures from AXA, 3.7m people picked up a frying pan after watching The Great British Bake Off while 10% of people who tuned into the FIFA World Cup dusted the cobwebs off their childhood ball and went outside, blinking into the sunlight like lost moles.So, with all the above in mind, there are social, mental, and physical benefits to having a hobby – or, to quote eternal optimist Bob Ross, "every day is a good day when you paint".

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