Summer's a great time to hang with your favorite people. School's out, sun's out, and
it's time to reconnect with the great outdoors (or the AC-ed indoors when it gets too hot). But with all this newfound time on your hands, it's easy to fall into a slump (Netflix binge, anyone?). While that's just what you need some days, it's also a good idea to make sure you're staying healthy and partaking in fun activities that keep you strong and fit. Luckily, you don't have to break the bank to do just that. In fact, we've got a list of 16 fun and healthy things to do over the Summer that are totally free!
Organize a Cooking Challenge
Give contestants a basket of random but healthy ingredients and ask them to whip up an interesting and delicious recipe using what's in them — you don't have to go out of your way to get ingredients; use whatever is in your fridge. The dishes are then tasted by the judges, and a winner is crowned. It's a great and fun way to create new, healthy recipes to add to your rotation.
Volunteering is a great way to get in tune with your local community, but it also has a few superhealthy hidden benefits. Spending your time with animals, the environment, or other people can help make a positive impact in their lives and yours. A study conducted by the Corporation for National & Community Service stated that "those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer."
Shoot Some Hoops
Work on your jump shot solo, play a round of Horse with a friend or two, or get a bunch of people together for a basketball game for a fun cardio workout. You'll burn more than 100 calories in just 30 minutes of playing.
Run on the Beach
Grab a beach towel, some healthy snacks, and a pair of sunglasses, and head to the beach. You can relax and enjoy a bit of mental time off, or get in a workout by going for a stroll or run or practicing some yoga with the waves crashing in the distance. Just remember that if you've never gone for a run on the beach before, you should start on wet sand to avoid any injuries.
Take a Free Mindfulness Class
Libraries and community centers often offer free classes. They often revolve around mindfulness, but you can also find more active lessons, like yoga. Check out what's going on around you, and find something of interest to partake in while meeting members of your community. It'll be a great way to de-stress and, depending on the topic of the class, could help lower your BMI and increase physical activity.
Have a Dance Party
Dancing is a great total-body cardio workout. Get your friends together for an evening of low-calorie cocktails or mocktails and turn up the music. Or have your very own solo dance party to your favorite playlist. You'll have fun and burn some calories, all while toning your muscles and building your endurance.
Explore a Nearby Town
You may have checked out your city dozens of times (and if you haven't played tourist to your own yet, try that!), but what about a neighboring city or small town? Check out the downtown scene, sightsee, and peruse some local shops. You're bound to get a ton of steps in!
Learn New Cooking Skills
Check out healthy blogs or YouTube videos to learn new cooking skills. You can then apply them to making more adventurous healthy meals at home and meal prep faster.
Have an At-Home Yoga Session
Grab your yoga mat and favorite yoga video, and practice some moves that'll help tone your muscles and lengthen your body.
Got a bike, skateboard, hoverboard, or pair of skates or roller blades lying around? Grab your preferred set of wheels and head out for a sweaty workout that doesn't feel like one.
When the weather is warm, take a dip in the ocean or a community swimming pool. Not only is it a great total-body workout — you can burn 400 calories in one hour — but it's also super fun. Afterward, you can treat yourself to a little lounge time in a pool floatie.
Organize Your Own Workout Class
Get a group of friends together for a fun workout activity, like a HIIT session, interactive boot camp, or race (because a little friendly competition never hurt anyone).
Go to the Park and Act Like a Kid
You don't need to be a kid to enjoy a day at the park's playground. There's no shame in heading to the swings or going down a slide to get a healthy dose of fresh air and some activity. A lot of parks also have climbing areas that can be a great workout.
Go on a Hike
Hikes are a great way to get out and explore the world for free. Check out the best hiking trails in your state, then start your journey to strengthen core muscles and build the muscles in your lower body, too.
Clean Your Place
This free activity will not only leave your place spotless, but it'll also give you a great workout. The deeper you clean, the more calories you'll burn — 200 calories for a 45-minute deep-cleaning isn't bad.
Gardening is a great way to grow your own healthy ingredients, but even if what you're growing is pretty (nonedible) flowers, you'll get a workout. You can burn anywhere from 200 to 400 calories while gardening by watering plants; planting vegetables, fruits, and herbs; digging; and raking. Don't have room for a garden at your place? Find a local community garden or help out at a local farm.
This article originally published on PopSugar.com by Rosy Pahwa