When you think about healthy habits, it’s probably things like salads and CrossFit that come to mind. But the obvious options aren’t always inspiring. Sometimes it’s nice to do things that are good for you and interesting and fun — and sometimes it’s to do something different, well, just because it’s different.
Lucky for you, the Pacific Northwest is full of options.
Channel your inner hipster and check out some of our favorite alternative ways to get healthy in the PNW.
1. Ride your bike to a coffee shop
Does it get any more PNW than cycling to grab a cup of our signature beverage? Create a map of all your favorite coffee spots, and then bike to a different one every day (or week). Or, if you really need to jumpstart your day, ride from one shop to another in the morning. Here are some of our favorite starting points:
2. Go to a concert…
…and dance all night long. Whether you see a show at the Crystal Ballroom in PDX, Tractor Tavern in Seattle or one of the other hundreds of concert venues around the PNW, you’ll be burning calories for hours.
3. Take a free yoga class
You don’t need to shell out a ton of money for your next stretch session. Instead, join top instructors at your nearby Lululemon for a free weekly class, or check out your local studio’s schedule — many offer free (or discounted) classes during off hours.
4. Grow your own vegetables
Gardening can actually burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories per hour. An hour among rows of kale, tomato and pepper plants can be a lot more engaging than an hour at the gym (but involves just as many squats).
5. Sign up for an urban adventure race
Nothing like adding a little trivia and competition to your workout to keep you motivated. The CitySolve Urban Race Seattle and the CityScaper! urban race in Portland are scavenger hunts full of aerobic excitement, with teams of people hurrying from clue to clue through the cities they love.
6. Walk your dog
7. Surf like a pro
8. Go skateboarding
Staying balanced on your board requires a surprising amount of core strength — plus, you’re working your entire lower body with all of that squatting and pushing off. Find a skate park at skateoregon.com or seattleskateparks.org.
9. Start a band
Being in a band may not sound like exercise, but try banging on a drum set for an hour and see how you feel about it then. If finding other musicians and becoming famous isn’t your thing — just do the drumming part, with the Pound Rockout Workout at PulsePDX or at Elite Performance Center in Seattle. (Yes, gyms are offering drumming classes. And yes, they’re amazing.)
10. Eat at a healthy food cart
It’s cheap, easy and totally healthy — especially if you go there on foot — so why not walk through town and grab a smoothie, wrap or bowl of oatmeal with your friends?
11. Kayak or SUP
Make your way down the Willamette or tackle Lake Union for a workout with a view. You’ll bask in the sunshine (fingers crossed) while strengthening your core and tan your arms and legs in the process.
12. Go for a hike
You don’t have to be a seasoned hiking veteran (or even own hiking boots) to enjoy a casual hike in the Gorge or through Discovery Park. Skinny jeans and sneaks will do you fine, and the fresh air and exercise will do you even better.
They say what’s old is new again, so slip on a pair of skates and do laps around the block or your local rink. Have no fear: You’ll be totally on trend. And you’ll also get an amazing leg/glute workout. Check out the Oaks Amusement Park rink in PDX or Southgate Roller Rink in SEA.
14. Play kickball
Or, another sport that’s not usually meant for grown-ups. Like with rollerskating, old-school games are coming back in a big way — and they’re a lot more exercise than you may remember. In Seattle and Portland, Underdog Sports good place to find a game and hook up with a team. If you’re in Portland, be sure to check out Recess Time Sports.
15. Plan a trip to a swimming hole
With the unseasonably warm winter we’re having in the PNW, odds are summer weather will be here sooner than later — which may mean a longer swimming season! Most sweet swimming holes in the PNW involve hiking in a little bit (and then jumping in a lot), so consider planning your trip now.
16. Join a CSA
Get to know your local farmers and other cool people who support them — but most of all, get to know the glory of fresh, organic produce delivered right to your door. No more temptation or confusion at the grocery store: Your menu is set by those who know best! Find a CSA near you in Seattle or Portland.
17. Do a relay race
18. Go bowling
Rolling a 10-pound ball over and over again has got to count for something, right? Bowling’s great for a family outing, but trendy lanes like Grand Central Bowl in Portland or West Seattle Bowl offer a nice night out on the town for the young crowd.
19. Head to the mountains
20. Join a running group