If there’s one thing you can count on it’s your friends showing up … for happy hour, bottomless mimosas, and Netflix and chill-ed wine night. But a night of revelry can lead to late-night binging, little sleep and a hangover the next morning, which do no favors for your health.
So why not shelf the boozy get-togethers every once in a while and try a healthier activity instead? Other equally spirited options like hiking, dance (class) partying, volunteering and paddleboarding make for great catch-up time with friends. Plus, they put the kibosh on all the extra calories (and other questionable decision-making that comes with having a few too many).
Consult this list of fresh ideas below next time you plan to meet up with the crew.
8 Healthy Alternatives to Boozing with Friends
Lace up those hiking boots and hit the trails with a friend for a date that’s as good for your body as it is for your mind. Just an hour of hiking can burn anywhere from 400-500 calories, and trudging up hills and mountains can help tone and tighten those legs and butt. Being outdoors with nature can also help ease stress and anxiety. Try Fodors to find the best hike in your area.
Even if you don’t live by the ocean, you can hop on the stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) trend. You will need a lake or pool, though, of course. (Check out Yelp for local deals and classes near you.) The workout can be a fun way for you and your buddy to explore your digs by water while catching up. New Yorkers can visit ManhattanKayak.com for outings on the Hudson River. And for those on the West Coast, there’s no shortage of picturesque spots along the Pacific Coast. Want to take your pursuit of paddleboarding out of the country? Here are the best paddleboarding spots in the world.
3. Floating on Air
Massages and facials are so passé. If you’re looking for a truly unique deep relaxation experience, consider slipping into a sensory deprivation tank. Don’t believe us? We wrote a first-hand account about how amazingly de-stressing it can be. For about $99, you and a curious pal can float in a small pod filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts and water for an hour. Check for offerings in your hood.
Whether or not you’re a Top Chef in the kitchen, it’s always fun to learn a new dish – especially with a sous chef you know. Grab a friend and commit to a cooking class at a local culinary institute or through stores like Sur La Table. Or, hop on the subscription box bandwagon and make a meal together chez toi.
There’s nothing better for the body and soul than giving back to your community. There are many volunteering opportunities that are now accessible online. Find a project that you can do with a pal on sites like Golden if you’re in Los Angeles, or New York Cares for Big Apple residents. There’s always an opportunity to walk homeless pets at the local shelter, clean up a park close by or grow local gardens that feed low-income residents.
6. Rock Climbing
Even city dwellers can experience the great outdoors through programs like Discover Outdoors or REI classes and events. These programs offer transportation out of the city for you and a friend (or a group of friends) to do activities like rock climbing, white water rafting, and even camping trips if you’re ready to rough it. The long ride may be daunting, but it’ll mean quality time with the crew.
7. Packing Your Bags
Who says vacation has to revolve around drinking and snoozing all day? Enter: adult sports and wellness retreats. Grab a friend and escape your daily grind to a HIIT-tastic tropical beach or learn how to “om” alongside majestic mountain views. Whether you and your swolemate want to train for a triathlon together or play doubles on the tennis court for a few days, there’s an adult sports camp for you out there.
The more people you can gather for this sober, early morning dance party, the better. The wellness movement usually kicks off on a weekday at 6 a.m. with a large-scale yoga class followed by breakfast (often supplied by participating food and drink vendors). Then, the dance party starts. It’s not especially conducive to chatting, but who really cares when you can jam out to famed DJ’s like Jason Bentley?