Updated April 19, 2019
When you think about healthy habits, it’s probably things like salads and Cross-Fit 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.
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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.
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. Check out Fitbit Local in Seattle (and when you travel!) for monthly fitness events. Anchorage yoga studios offer free community events, too.
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
It’s simple, but what’s more fun than taking your pooch out on a nice day? The dog park is great, but walking to a people park or just around your neighborhood gives both of you a good workout.
7. Surf like a pro
Grab your wetsuit and head to the PNW coast. Some favorite spots to catch swells are by Devil’s Punch Bowl, north of Newport in Oregon, and Neah Bay in Washington. We’ll know you’re legit when you Surf Alaska though!
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 in Oregon, Seattle, or Alaska.
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 Workout.
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
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!
17. Do a relay race
Run your way through some gorgeous locations around the PNW. A couple races to consider: the Alaska Relay, Hood to Coast, Cascade Lakes Relay, Ski to Sea or the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay.
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 Jewel Lake Bowl in Anchorage or West Seattle Bowl offer a nice night out on the town for the young crowd.
19. Head to the mountains
Whether you snowboard or snowshoe, you’re guaranteed to have a good time outdoors (and get some exercise at the same time) at Mt. Hood Meadows or Stevens Pass.
20. Join a running group
All paces are welcome at the weekly free group runs that leave out of Portland Running Company or Fleet Feet. Come with old friends and/or leave with some new ones! In Alaska, check out groups in Juneau or Anchorage.