It’s Party Time! 8 Super Healthy Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday

Healthy birthday ideas

All-night ragers are so yesteryear. If you’re looking for a birthday celebration that doesn’t involve overindulging in cake or waking up with a major headache, you’re in luck: There are plenty of healthy ways to commemorate another trip around the sun that will leave you feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to tackle your best year yet.

“The most successful way to have a healthy birthday celebration is to be intentional and design your day in advance, keeping in mind how you want to feel during your birthday and after,” says San Francisco-based health coach, Shawn Casey. “Ask yourself, ‘what would make this a healthy birthday for me?’”

Once you’ve figured that out, choose your next birthday adventure from this list of fun, feel-good ideas:

1. Organize a yoga class for friends.

Massive group dinners are often the go-to birthday plan of choice, but there are better ways to bond that don’t break the bank (or your healthy eating plan). “As fun and delicious as those types of gatherings are, in the end you’re hungover, tired, and carrying around a little less cash,” says Los Angeles-based yoga teacher and wellness blogger Kala MacDonald. “Instead of the usual group sushi night or pizza and beer, why not invest in a gathering that will bring you closer not only to your friends and family, but to yourself? Yoga is a great way to connect, feel healthy, and find grounding.” Plus, it can be adapted to any fitness level.

Investigate local studios and teachers in your area to find a private session for you and your pals to get your namaste on.

2. Run (or swim or bike) for a cause.

Instead of bar hopping, rack up extra steps and do some good by signing up for a charity race or fitness class. Search for local events that raise awareness and funds for causes that are close to your heart. You can even spend the months leading up to your birthday working out with friends or making new ones by attending training sessions and meetups. The time you put in to training will make crossing the finish line feel like even more of a celebration.

3. Rent a dance studio and channel your inner pop star.

Bouncing around to your favorite tunes is probably one of the most natural ways to celebrate a big day, but you don’t have to hit the club to get your groove on. “Dancing is a way to experience the flow state, a way of being in which you’re truly present,” says Bay Area dance and yoga instructor Devi Hadsell. “When your mind is captivated by keeping up with choreography, there’s no space to worry about your to-do list or that silly thing you said earlier this week. It’s also an opportunity to not take yourself so seriously; try frowning while you’re doing a body roll—it’s ridiculous!”

Hadsell teaches group classes, but also creates special choreography sessions for birthdays and special occasions. She says private parties are “a way to get down with your friends without feeling like you need to drink alcohol or stay out super late. Plus, dancing is a killer workout but doesn’t require the same discipline needed to go for a run or hit the gym for a weightlifting sesh. You won’t even realize how much you worked until your legs are jelly the next morning!”

If renting a studio or taking a class isn’t in your budget, you can still get bootylicious on your b-day. “For a lower cost option, simply invite friends over and stream a classic workout video from the ’80s or ’90s, and dress for the occasion,” says Casey. “And don’t forget that a night out dancing also counts!”

4. Pet all the dogs. And cats.

In case you needed one more reason to surround yourself with furry friends, research shows that interacting with animals promotes social interaction between humans and reduces stress and anxiety.” Plus, animals are just super cute.

“Time with animals contributes to mental and physical well-being,” says Jena Valdez, DVM, San Francisco SPCA medical director. So, grab a few pals and hit up your local shelter to hang out with the pups and kitties. Bonus points if you adopt one: Owning a pet is associated with everything from decreased blood pressure and cholesterol to increased opportunities for exercise and socializing.

5. Invest in you time.

Just because it’s your birthday doesn’t mean you have to spend it with friends, family, or anyone, really. “Maybe ‘healthy’ is a ‘treat yo’self’ kind of celebration where you spend a day at the spa, go for a float in a deprivation tank, and indulge in a restorative yoga class,” says Casey. “It might also mean unplugging completely for an entire day or more. Turning off your phone, retreating to nature, and taking a moment to reconnect.” Taking a hike can be a great way to hit your step goal (cue celebration number two!) and clear your mind.

6. Mix up healthy mocktails.

Sipping something festive is always fun, but a hangover isn’t an inevitable consequence of imbibing. Mocktails are an easy way to sneak in some flavor while clinking glasses with friends. “For drinks, I’m all about citrus,” says MacDonald. “I love to add slices of grapefruit and clementine to water, and then a big squeeze of juice too. Grapefruit and lime is a favorite, and sometimes I take it even further and throw in some sliced strawberries, cucumber, and mango. You really can’t go wrong.”

Here’s her favorite recipe for saying cheers (which MacDonald says can be elevated to an adult beverage by adding a moderate serving of alcohol; as long as you drink responsibly):

  • 6-8 ounces water
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Juice of half a grapefruit
  • Optional: A sweetener of your choice, like a teaspoon of brown sugar or a few drops of stevia extract
  • Garnish with slices of lime and grapefruit

7. Try untraditional treats.

MacDonald is also a fan of forsaking typical birthday calorie bombs for something less traditional but just as fun. “I’d encourage people to think outside of the norm!” she says. “Why have cake when you can put candles in a bowl of guacamole or hummus with a veggie tray? The ritual is still there without all the sugar and empty calories. I myself have requested buffalo dip with celery and carrots in lieu of a birthday cake this year.”

8. Go outside of your comfort zone.

Always dreamt of crossing something off your bucket list? Seize the day and do it now! “Healthy could also mean personal growth and starting your next trip around the sun by stretching yourself,” Casey says. “This might mean doing something that scares you or makes you uncomfortable—anything from jumping out of a plane to sitting with yourself for three days at a meditation retreat.”

“Whatever healthy means for you, there are endless options out there to help you celebrate,” she adds. “Think about what you want and how you want to feel, and don’t worry about the typical conventions of a birthday celebration. It’s your day, do what’s true to you.”

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  • Thank you for the birthday suggestions. I lost my husband of 44 years last my Aug. this is my first birthday, on the 4 of July, without him. We married 2 days before he graduated from high school. Needless to say I’m lost, thanks to my faith in God and my children I push on. I have strayed away from my exercise routine which I loved and have shy’d away from life in general. Thanks for the b-day suggestions i’ll try something new and let you know how it went.Thanks

    • This motivated me reading. Thank you for sharing. Prayers for you in your constant life journey, dealing with the loss of your husband, your strength with your children, and your daily health.
      This birthday article also helped me. I’ll be sure to try a few next week.

  • Thank you for the great tips to celebrate my birthday. I can’t believe I am another year older.
    I definitely need to stay healthy and young. Just added a helicopter ride in Kauai to cross off the list. Thank you Fitbit for all of your encouragement and rewards.

  • Thank you for your help and insight. As this year marks my 58th. I have been so determined to eat healthier, excercise more. I know small changes and attitude make a big difference. I started fitbit end of April of this year. To date I am 15 full pounds lighter.

  • A healthy birthday is a happy birthday! Adhering to this theory brings me to 65 at the same weight (116 at 5’3″), but with a lower body fat percentage (23%, lowest this big-hipped bitch ever has been), that I was at 16. Showing a few mature faces in the graphics, however, would make the article more compelling.

  • All good suggestions, although not exactly suited to a 90th birthday celebration. Want to modify a bit?

  • Hey! Today is my birthday, and reading this inspired me to do the Yosemite Pohono Trail Challenge on Fitbit! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Im going to walk and go to the gym for 2 hours then im going to the movies and afterwards a healthy lunch and shopping wakking.

  • Well I turn 69 next week and have been using my FITBIT for the last two years religiously and exercising and modifying my eating habits ( mostly vegetarian now). But a candle on a bunch of carrots and hummous is not exactly what I am looking for to celebrate. A bowl of frozen yogurt with fresh fruits mmmm. Life is short. I just heard of a friend’s husband who watched what he ate exercised every day and took vitamins and had a massive heart attack and died on their 39th anniversary. Every so often I think it is important to indulge WHILE YOU CAN!!!!! . Along with my frozen yogurt I am going out for a nice meal with some wonderful family and going to enjoy every mouthful Birthdays are a celebration of life and I will celebrate!

    • Yes Marlene,
      We have something in common. I also use my FITBIT religiously too. I walk 3 miles per day, 3 times a week. I make smoothie with blueberry, strawberry, and mango with each 3 mile walk. As you stated, life is too short. I try to live a healthy life after surviving stage 4 breast cancer. I am greatful to God that I am still alive.

    • Marlene, you are right on! Indulge occasionally. My closest friend (also named Marlene) gave me a new mantra you might like. It is “This isn’t dress rehearsal”.

  • Next week will be my 43rd birthday. To celebrate the occasion, I’m doad tripping over to Utah to run in a couple of Spartan race.

  • Every 3 month on the last Saturday 3 yoga sensei and I practice for 4 hour then meditation practice, which will fall on my Bday! OH YEAH…

  • Great ideas. I’ll see what I can manage after two more weeks in a care home with a broken leg. Last year’s (75th) birthday involved a terrific Surprise Party but I damaged my shoulder the following day. I was just recovering from that when I broke my leg falling off my present of a bike, again. Can’t happen this birthday being in the home.

  • I have been walking up to 3 miles a day since my last (75th) birthday but broke my leg 4 weeks ago, so will still be in a care home for my 76th. I go home in two weeks but am not sure how soon I’ll be up to 3 miles again.

  • I don’t drink liqueur, bar hop, eat sugar….I used to be a great dancer but my partner is miles away and I don’t think the younger set would really love to dance with someone making her 72nd journey. Besides I have 2 artificial knees 1 artificial hip an artificial heart valve and I recently fell and ‘ broke 6 bones in my face, my wrist and radius in my right arm and sprained left leg from my pelvis to my ankle. Besides my left shoulder is so full of arthritis I can barely use my arm…,.my left shoulder has a torn rotator cuff, ligaments that don’t connect anywhere, a tumor for which I will have tests q3 months for 2 years checking for bone cancer. Sound like excuses? NO I would love to go dancing, do yoga, ride my bike, workbout etc etc. but I will settle for the beauty shop, walking my dog, perhaps a stroll in the pool and a healthy dinner with my daughter son-in-law and a couple of my grandchildren.

  • Are these supposed to be fun? I mean, maybe for a middle aged party I guess. But please, I’d love to see some of these articles aimed toward active younger adults that really actually do sound both fun AND realistic.

  • Hi ,
    Thank you for the birthday ideas. I like to spend it with family and friends and one day I can not worry about my fitness . But I will def keep these in mind for rest of the year..

  • This is ridiculous! When else can I eat cake other than on my birthday? It’s all very well for people who don’t like cake, but a candle in a bowl of guacamole is not a reasonable substitute for a birthday cake if you love birthday cake. I am very dedicated to getting my steps and eating healthily, but for goodness sake, I still want to enjoy my life!

    • I agree. Your birthday comes only once a year. And my granddaughter birthday and each of my loved ones. I am not going to forgo the cake and ice cream. Life is short and I know that. I lost my sisters and mom all within a year and a half. And NOT eating the cake and ice cream did not make them live longer.

  • I definitely agree that we should go outside of our ‘comfort zone’ on our birthdays……particularly as we get older 😉

    I will be having a flying lesson on my birthday in a few days – yippee!!

  • Thank you for the great suggestions!! I do need to step out of my comfort zone and do something different this year!

  • I LOVE this suggestions!!! I’m turning thirty this year and absolutely love my fitbit charge 2 and how much healthier I’ve become!! I’ll definitely use some of these suggestions for my special day!

  • I am so grateful that my daughter gifted me a Fitbit for Christmas. It has helped me be more accountable something I really needed. I look forward to a healthier lifestyle. I already have given away 26 lbs, 25 to go. I swim and walk and celebrating my birthday this year will entail excercise and being with friends.

  • I like to do my age in pushups. I started when I was 50 and next week I will be 70. It helps keep me motivated all year long.

  • Thank you for the other ideas to celebrate your birthday.
    I still have a bucket list to accomplish… there are things I like to do out of my comfort zone.

  • Great tips! I’m turning 64 next week and have started working on that bucket list with my hubby! I’m encouraged by some of your comments.

  • Last year I walked 800 kms across Spain to celebrate my 70th birthday. That will take some topping but I plan to walk the 300 km Coast to Coast across England next year.

  • Not everyone is comfortable around animals! There is such an embrace all animals thing going on everywhere, that I feel the need to speak up; and push back. Do you realize that I have no rights on an airplane? Me or anyone else terrified of dogs? They can have an emotional support animal that causes me severe emotional distress. I can’t walk downtown without running into everyone’s labs and retrievers because all of the sidewalk cafes put out water and welcome them. These are big dogs! I say show some respect to the person fearful of animals-something has always made them that way! Dogs bite often! Love your pet but keep him home! Protect the many silent people who don’t share your love.

  • Thanks for those tips. For my birthday, I am going to Idaho to see my kids and hike some trails. Fill up my steps on Fitbit and walk off some weight.

  • I will be celebrating my 78th Birthday with family in Paris, France. Dinner will be on a river cruise on the River Seine!! Can’t get much better than that!

  • I just love your Beautiful birthday ideas it would be Awesome to change up from traditional. I am going out with some great friends for lunch. Family an grands Children will all be in. It’s my 72th birthday an I’ve always tried to take care of myself, people, friends an family tell me I don’t look my age, a day over 50/55 . I am eating healthier now than ever and I will get in my 10,000 steps on my birthday ! I have a kitten name Stormy will definitely spend more time with him, my happy place.

  • Great article ! I’m turning 70 a week from today & plan on breaking 10,000 steps ( at least ! ) all throughout the year ! Last week I hit my all-time high of over 18,000 steps ! My daughter gave me my Fitbit for Christmas and I have used my Fitbit to aid & assist in my foot surgery ( last January ). I started using it around the end of Februay , as I began walking again. It was my “accountability ” for how I was progressing! I LOVE everything about it , except for the poor strap connection ! It keeps falling off ! I’ll be in Cabo for my b’day . Maybe I will have to resort to super-gluing the straps to the watch , as I really want to wear it down there !

  • Great tips. Will do something fun with my my two young grandsons, maybe a water park day. You bet grandma goes down those slides!! That way they’re not stuck as some restaurant dying to go home and run around. Great food suggestions too. Thanks!! Fit Gramma!

  • My twin sister and I celebrated our 65th birthday playing Mini golf with friends and family. Other times I have celebrated my birthday by going to the gym. Thankyou for sharing Idea’s that don’t involve food.

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