For the Swiss, sports are an important part of their leisure activities. In 1972, a federal law ensured government financial support for the promotion of sports. Exercise and sport are part of children's education. There are many sports organizations in the country. One of the largest is the Swiss Association for Football and Athletics.

Hiking is one of the most popular leisure activities in the country, and there are more than 50,000 kilometres of designated footpaths. Bicycling is growing in popularity. The Swiss also enjoy swimming, rowing, sailing, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer and hang-gliding. In the winter months, many people go skiing. Switzerland is famous for its ski slopes.

Two sports are unique to Switzerland: hornussen and schwingen. Hornussen is played by two teams, the "offence" and the "defence." The offence uses long metal rods with wooden handles to knock a disc called the hornuss as far as possible down a field. The defence uses a wooden shield to prevent the disc from getting very far down the field. If the disc lands on the field without being intercepted, the defence loses a point. If the defence knocks it down, they gain a point.
  Did you know?
In 1998 and 1999, the top woman tennis player in the world was Swiss-born Martina Hingis.
Schwingen is a type of Swiss wrestling. The wrestlers wear special pants. Each wrestler grabs the waistband of his opponent with his right hand and a band on his opponent's leg with his left hand. Then he tries to lift his opponent, throw him down and hold his back to the ground. When a wrestler loses both handholds or when his shoulder blades touch the ground, he is defeated. Although this has traditionally been a man's sport, women are now starting to compete. At the Swiss Alpine Herdsmen's Festival in Interlaken every August, men engage in schwingen and boulder throwing. In the boulder-throwing contests, the competitor who throws an 83.5-kilogram granite stone the farthest is the winner.
For many Swiss men, social life includes membership in a guild. Historically, guilds were work associations. Today, guilds are similar to North American organizations such as the Shriners. Some see guilds as social clubs for people who enjoy good food, drink and conversation. Others see them as political clubs of like-minded and economically influential men. Membership in the guilds is by invitation only and is reserved for family members of current guild members and for those who have achieved a certain status in society. Women are not permitted to join.
  Did you know?
One of the most popular Swiss card games is called Jass (pronounced Yas), played with 36 cards in 4 suits.