5 Ways to Keep Healthy and Have Fun Without Spending a Dime
Fall is officially here! Say goodbye to long, scorching summer days and look forward to cooler weather and cozy evenings by the fire. As winter draws near, it’s important we make the most of the precious daylight hours by spending quality time outside.
So Glam Soldier, a unique boho-inspired boutique in Apex, NC, has come up with a list of fun and free outdoor adventures – just for you.
Most of us have tight budgets and packed schedules, but we mustn’t let ourselves get too stressed and busy to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. We can create health and happiness without spending a dime. So, let’s dig out those favorite sneakers, overshirts, and jackets and head outside. Or check out our selection of comfy jeans and tops - a perfect combo to look and feel good. Pair them with combat boots and you're ready for any adventure.
There are countless fun and free activities we can do with friends, the kids, our family or alone. Carving out just 15-20 minutes a day for ourselves can have huge health benefits – for the body, soul and mind.
Take the second step to happiness with these 5 free adventures:
1. Walking and Hiking
Yes, it sounds obvious, but how many of us actually take a daily walk? It's free and easy, the only investment is your time. But don't just go for a walk, make it an adventure. Pack a lunch, snacks, and water, and spend the whole day exploring.
Whether it’s a casual stroll, a brisk walk, or an intense mountain hike – find whatever suits your fitness level and health.
What better way to exercise and get to know the neighbors than a daily walk around the block? You may even make new friends on the way and have time to notice things in your own neighborhood that you normally miss. Most cities have community parks, recreation areas, or walking trails, or head out to the country and tackle a longer hike. Take it slow and enjoy the natural wonders or challenge yourself to complete the hike within a specific time.
Walking is a low-impact exercise suitable for all ages and fitness levels, with innumerable health benefits. In addition to weight loss, it improves heart health and circulation, regulates blood pressure, reduces risk of diabetes, strengthens your bones, builds muscle, and boosts your immune function. And exercise helps alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and depression. In the winter months, make sure to walk in the middle of the day to capture as much sun as possible.
Whether you opt for a 15-minute stroll or tackle the Appalachian Trail, walking is invigorating and spirit lifting, so get out there and make it a daily adventure. For a list of Triangle area trails click here. Check out Alltrails for general hiking information.
2. Get in touch with nature!
"All good things are wild and free," says Henry David Thoreau in his lecture "Walking," written in the mid-1800's. These words are even more relevant to us in this digital age. We spend so much time cooped up indoors focused on screens, driving in heavy traffic, and frantically trying to get everything done, that we often forget the simplicity and beauty of being in nature. And ‘stopping to smell the roses’ isn’t just a nice saying, it has scientifically proven health benefits. The scents and sounds of nature are soothing and relaxing, leading to a calmer demeanor and better sleep.
Have you ever paused and stared in wonder at a hummingbird or a deer grazing in the forest? Have you ever enjoyed the magnificence of complete silence and solitude? It’s moment like these we must seek out and cherish – they don’t cost a thing but are priceless for the soul.
Most of us are familiar with the term, ‘tree hugger’ but did you know that hugging a tree has healing properties? In these trying times when hugging another person may be hard, hug a tree instead and soak up the physiological and psychological benefits. Or try the Japanese practice of ‘Shinrin-yoku’ or forest bathing, which is a form of ecotherapy where you spend time immersed in nature, engaging in four out of the five senses.
Go off grid
Leave the cell phone at home (we somehow survived before the invention of smartphones!) and walk barefoot in the grass or sand, wade, and splash in a river, go for a solitary walk through the woods and just soak in the peace and beauty. You could also check out a guidebook on birds and animals from your local library (making sure it’s relevant for your area) and start learning all about the other creatures with whom we share our communities.
Volunteering not only benefits the organization but has a huge impact on your own wellbeing. And if you take it outside, then you have the added benefit of doing good in the fresh air. There are plenty of outdoor volunteering opportunities, from doing a charity run to building a house for Habitat for Humanity.
Therapeutic horse riding
If you love kids and horses then sign up and train to volunteer at a therapeutic horse-riding center, where you can either lead the horse or be a ‘side walker’ securing the safety of the rider. Wildlife rehabilitation centers and farm sanctuaries are always seeking the help of volunteers as are state and national parks, for clean-up and path maintenance. If you live on the coast or near any body of water you can get involved with volunteer programs like beach or river clean ups and water quality monitoring.
4. Organize a scavenger hunt
From tots to teens, children of all ages love a good scavenger hunt. But it’s not just for the kids, adults can join in the fun too. This is a great activity for all ages, and can be designed for a group of kids, adults, or a mix of both. Pick a theme and a location - which can be a park, the neighborhood, or even the whole town. Set a time limit for completion and a goal, which is usually a list of items, challenges, or clues that must be found, completed, or solved. Gather a group of friends together and split up into teams. It can be done on foot or in a car. Either print out the clues or send them electronically. You can also use an app like GooseChase, Treasure Hunt or Geocaching.
For kids you can create a nature themed scavenger hunt to get them out in the woods. It doesn’t have to be complicated – simple is best. Just list maybe 10-20 things they must find, a bird, a squirrel, a pinecone, or a house with a hummingbird feeder. The possibilities are endless so get creative. There’s some great information online - try out some of the ideas on this site: https://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Scavenger-Hunt
5. Go on a Picnic
When’s the last time you had a real picnic? The full-on deal, with a basket of food, plates, cups, silverware and a blanket on the ground? Fall is a great time for picnics with cooler weather and less mosquitoes. Make it a family affair or gather a group of friends together. It can be for just a few hours or a whole day event. Community parks and recreation areas have great facilities including picnic areas with tables and grills if you want to do a cookout. Some parks are on lakes or ponds which make great locations for a day long picnic. The kids can play while the adults sit back and relax.
Pack a cooler, enough food, camping chairs and even a hammock if you have one and make a full day of it.
Just one more…
Be a tourist in your own town
How often do you explore your local downtown? If you live in a historical or scenic city, then you can walk while you sightsee - check out the architecture that you never have time to admire and learn some of your local history. You can even do some window shopping as you stroll by the shops.
Many cities offer free historical walking tours, some have scavenger hunts for the kids, and there are numerous free street festivals you can explore, from bluegrass, arts and crafts to apple and cultural festivals. Some zoos and outdoor science centers have free admission days every month, so check out your local events guides to see what’s going on in your city. You can also research any local free historical buildings and monuments in your area – and go visit stuff you never knew was there.
Carpe Diem Ya'll!
Each day is an adventure and we here at Glam Soldier are all about embracing life and making the most of each moment. There are so many things we forget to do, enjoy, and even notice as we get caught up in our daily routines. Let’s all take a moment and ask ourselves what’s important in life and what really makes us happy?
Cat Stevens once sang, “You’re only dancing on this Earth for a short while.” So, Carpe Diem ya’ll (seize the day!)
It’s your turn to write now. Tell us about the activities you enjoy doing that are completely free? It doesn’t have to be an outdoor activity, maybe it’s reading, meditating, or lazing in a hammock. Let us know in the comments section below.
Come be a trendsetter at Glam Soldier, a women and veteran owned boutique, upstairs at 114 N. Salem Street, Apex, NC 27502. Call us on Call: 919-267-6442 Message us: @GlamSoldier.