Alternatives to the terrace

What could be more pleasant when summer sets in than sipping a drink on a terrace, surrounded by good friends? Unlike in countries where winter doesn’t exist, the opening of terraces here is almost a ritual, an event that marks the start of summer and vacations.

Of course, when you say terrace, you usually mean alcohol and food. If repeated several times, these get-togethers add up to substantial calories. Not to mention the fact that these social gatherings are rarely followed by a session of sports, walking or running. Instead, they encourage a sedentary lifestyle.

First, let’s be clear. We’re not suggesting that you avoid patios, backyard BBQs or restaurant meals. It’s not about feeling guilty because you drank a little more than your quota one evening. As with everything, it’s the repetition and excess that is damaging to health, and as with everything, moderation tastes much better.
However, there are alternatives to the notorious ‘’happy hours’’, which can be just as enjoyable on the social front, but above all, pay off in terms of physical and mental health. Here are a few of them…

– Cycling: More and more people cycle to work or train on a stationary bike at home. The cycling network in Quebec has never been so well developed. Why not organise a little bike outing after work ? There’s no need to go all out. By maintaining a moderate pace, you can chat with everyone and catch up on the news… and the gossip.

– Picnics: Quebec is full of bucolic spots, often just a few minutes from work, and municipal parks where you and your friends can get together for a picnic. These social gatherings, which date back to the last century, are coming back into fashion. Stores offer all kinds of useful accessories, but it’s obviously not necessary to buy anything either. Focus on healthy foods: vegetables, cheese, fruit, nuts, and yes, why not, your favourite red wine.

– Walking: Less strenuous than cycling, walking is accessible to everyone and is a great way to relieve stress and worries while sharing a conversation. Doctors say that 30 minutes’ walk a day can increase your life expectancy by 10 years.

– ‘’Happy hours’’ non-alcoholic cocktails: Also known as mocktails, non-alcoholic cocktails are all the rage. Fortunately, all restaurants now offer them, but it’s just as much fun to get together, around a kitchen island at home, with colleagues or friends to make one of these mocktails – the recipes for which are available on all Ricardo websites.

These are just a few suggestions, and there are many more. It’s up to you to invent a social gathering that suits your vision and your needs. Don’t feel obliged to drink alcohol because everyone else is doing it. Respect your limits. And above all, the next day, bye-bye headache and guilt…

By Roger Lemay