Gaming is far and away one of the most world’s most common and beloved hobbies. Especially common among the younger, more tech-savvy generation, it can be a great way to unwind, de-stress and enter a world of fantasy where everything, from taking advice from talking mushrooms to befriending medieval sorcerers, is possible. But, like everything in life, you should really regulate how many hours you’re putting into each game, because as fun as gaming can be, there are other hobbies that are very much worth your time, that can give you the same thrill, that can engulf you in a fantasy and make you that much more an interesting person. This is what we’ll be discussing in this article: 5 interesting hobbies of a modern gamer.

1) Programming

It makes sense that gamers can take up and would actually enjoy programming as a hobby, for a number of reasons. The first one is that the apparatus needed for gaming is usually pretty much perfect for programming as well, as they both require pretty heavy processors and savvy technology. So if you already have a gaming computer, you don’t have to invest much so you can start programming. The other is that sometimes, but not always, there is an overlap of love for gaming and knowledge of computer science, no matter how basic. I mean, if you love doing something, you’d be interested to know how it works, right?

Programming as a hobby can be manifested in countless different ways, which is good since you’re free to pick and choose what kind of programming works for you. The most applicable perhaps is game moderating, or modding for short. Minecraft is perhaps the most famous example of game modding, and is also the easiest. In Minecraft, with enough practice, you can pretty much tweak any aspect of the gameplay, resulting in the ability to create entirely new experiences for yourself and for other players. Minecraft is just one example; there are countless games that you can start modding assuming you have coding languages down. It’s a very rewarding experience, tweaking the games you love to add more quirks and features. But be warned, it’s quite challenging and requires patience.

Game modding isn’t the only form of programming that is related to games. If you’d really like a challenge, you could get into game development, although many advise against it because it can ruin the magic of gaming for you once you start seeing ‘behind the curtains’. However, you will also start appreciating the volume of work and the details that go into it that elevate a game’s status from just a game to a true masterpiece. The internet is filled with videos and blog posts that can guide you through the process of game development. But again, be warned- it’s not easy and can be quite frustrating, especially at first. But as you get the hang of it more and more, you will find it to be quite rewarding.

You can also take up programming without the gaming aspect, from web development (creating websites) to open-source contributions to basically whatever you’re interested in. The internet is a big place and always has room for more and more computer programmers.

2) Reading

Listing reading as one of your hobbies just seems like an easy out, but reading genuinely is one of the best hobbies you can get into. It requires no equipment and can be done any place, at any time and with no special preparation. Reading a well-written book is a lot like playing a video game in some ways: you willingly enter a world created by an artist, a world where nothing is bound by earthly laws and anything can happen. You follow the life of a character or a number of characters, sometimes from their own eyes and sometimes as an observer. But in many ways, a book can be even more stimulating than a video game, in that your imagination is not bound by what you see on a screen in front of you.

Aside from the similarities with video games, reading also has several benefits that make it a worthwhile hobby.  For example, one of the benefits of reading is memory improvement. When you read a book, you have to remember a large array of characters, remember how the author described them, remember their relationships to one another, etc. Every time you have to remember a detail in a book, your brain forges new synapses and reinforces existing ones. This improves your memory over the long run and keeps your brain young. Reading a book, especially a mystery novel with a giant plot waiting to be unravelled at the end, also improves your analytical thinking skills. This type of story will encourage you piece together the bits and pieces you’ve read so far to try and figure out the mystery. Even if it’s not a mystery novel, reading a book can help your analytical thinking because it forces you to make sure that the story is running smoothly and there are no gaping plot holes. Reading is also a great conversation starter and can help you carry a conversation with your friends for hours as you spend time discussing the book and your thoughts and opinions surrounding it.

Reading in general has a ton of other benefits. It gives you more knowledge, it helps you become a better writer and most importantly, it’s a great way to de-stress and unwind, which is exactly what a hobby should do.

3) Poker

Gambling as a hobby might be a little bit dicey, but it can actually be a lot of fun and there’s no reason you can’t enjoy it as a hobby long as you’re playing for the thrill and the entertainment. There’s also a lot of work that goes into being a good poker player, so it’s not just mindless gambling. Being a good poker player entails reading and studying countless various strategies and knowing and applying basic statistics and mathematics. It also requires a great deal of patience, because, as everyone who has ever played poker or any gambling game, losing is as much a part of the game (possibly even more so) as winning.

Poker also teaches players, many lessons that are applicable in the real world, and not just in games. For example, a very big part of the game is emotional management. If you can’t keep your emotions in check during a game, you’ll go through a tilt. A tilt is basically when you go through a rough patch of results and then abandon your strategy and throw all your hard work to the wind. This ends up with a series of really poor decisions that aren’t based on logic, but are instead based on pure emotion, which unfortunately almost always ends with you losing, and losing badly. Even if you’re not going through a tilt, emotional management is still important for you as a poker player, as you are trying to remain unreadable and mysterious throughout the game. If you can’t control your body language, you’re not gonna have a good time.

Another lesson taught by poker is risk and reward analysis. In poker, you may have to sacrifice a small loss in order to later make a big win. It teaches you to look at all of the possible options, analyze what you can get out of them and what the possible payoff of each one is. This is another lesson that is applicable in real life.

The good thing about having poker as a hobby is that you learn new things, meet new people and it’s a generally good skill to have. Furthermore, you can practice it from the comfort of your home. You can visit 918kiss to check out an array of online gambling games. Just make sure that you gamble responsibly and don’t go overboard.

4) Martial Arts

It can be all too easy getting sucked into the boring routine of sleep, work, and eat, with a bit of binge watching TV and maybe switching things up by going to visit your parents every once in a blue moon. Many adults don’t make time for any sort of physical activity, which is just as important for mental health as actual mental activities. Working out is important, as it keeps you fit, keeps your brain and your heart working and loads your body up on those sweet sweet endorphins. And while any workouts will certainly be beneficial, we advise practicing martial arts specifically, for a number of reasons.

For starters, knowing that you can defend yourself from physical danger is a supreme self-confidence booster and can come in handy if ever you find yourself in an unfortunate situation. Martial arts are also a great way to lose weight, become more flexible and gain muscle and grow stronger, while also acquiring new knowledge and skills. One of the main reasons we picked martial arts have specifically is because of the morals and value they instill within a human. There’s a certain calm or zen, if you will, that always accompanies martial arts and learning to have that type of self-control is an invaluable skill. If you are looking for a new hobby to take up, look no further than martial arts.

Another great thing is there are tons of different types of martial arts as well, so you’re not just bound to one type. You can attend various classes and decide for yourself which one you like best. The martial arts scene is generally very highly receptive of newcomers, so there’s no need to be anxious about trying it for the first time.

5) Hiking

Another activity that promotes living an active and healthy lifestyle, hiking is great for your body, for your mind and for your soul. Wading your way through natural pathways and seeing nature untainted and unharmed by human wastes – is there any better feeling? And the best thing is, you’ll find hiking trails almost all around you. A quick Google search can show you the finest hiking trails in your local region, and can even serve up some hiking groups.Taking up hiking as a hobby is a great way to get in shape, and can be a great couples activity or even a group activity. Once you’re more experienced and know your way around the trails, you can suggest it to a date and impress them with your knowledge and confidence. I mean, being up there, smelling the fresh air, seeing old, sturdy trees and discovering small, furry animals is a great way to keep conversations flowing and builds a connection between people that is difficult to deny.

The facts back up our suggestion to take up hiking as a hobby. Studies show that hiking can regulate your blood pressure and generally decrease the risk of heart disease. It engages your core and builds up your muscles, especially those down in your legs, thighs and glutes. Furthermore, since you are lugging your weight around, hiking has been proven to increase bone density, which is something you’ll thank yourself for later as you grow older and your bones grow generally weaker. But most importantly, hiking has been proven to improve a person’s mood and relieve stress, making it a very worthwhile hobby to take up. It’s a complete contrast to video gaming, but as they say, variety is the spice of life.

Of course, these are only 5 recommendations that you by no means have to stick to. The point of this article is to highlight the important of having hobbies and the impacts they can have on your mental well-being and social growth. And at the risk of sounding cliche, I will share this little nugget of wisdom: it really doesn’t matter what your hobbies are, as long as you are passionate about them. So go out there, try new experiences and get out of your comfort zone. You are guaranteed to find something you are passionate about.