Ten mood-boosting activities including outdoor swimming, ice baths, and puppy yoga

IT'S peak getaway season but if like us, you're going nowhere this August, don't get despondent. We've got 10 ways to liven up your month in Manchester, and none of them involves losing the will to live in a three-hour queue at the airport.

Instead, get busy closer to home with feel-good activities like free horse-riding in Wythenshawe Park or an evening 5K race at Heaton Park. If sunny days make you want to seek out the nearest body of water, we've got two options for safe outdoor swimming plus the ultimate cool-down: an ice bath immersion. 

Add to that a new city centre running club, yoga with cute lil puppy dogs, and a boxing gym that lets you measure how hard you can punch, and you'll be wondering why anyone bothers going on holiday when there's so much cool stuff happening right here.

Here's our round-up of healthy things to do this August.

Girl playing baseball from Wythenshawe Games website
You say softball, we say rounders Image: Wythenshawe Games

The Wythenshawe Games | various locations, Wythenshawe | 29 July-17 August

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Wythenshawe Games and while lots of the activities are for youngsters, there are free bookable sessions for adults too. Try horse-riding, kick-boxing, tennis, tai chi, golf, and muay Thai. Or take part in the 10K run. The celebrations centre around three mini-festivals in Wythenshawe's parks with climbing walls, archery, softball, dodgeball, American football and more. Go along and beat the kids at their own game(s).

Girl with puppy on yoga mat from Paw Yoga
Upward-facing dog at Paw Yoga Image: Paw Yoga

Puppy Yoga | Deansgate, city centre | 6 August

The collective "ommm" is more likely to be a collective "awww" at this new class in the city centre. It's an hour-long session of yoga and cuddles with one of the cutest batches of pups around. They all come from trusted breeders and loving homes (so no you can't smuggle one out in your gym bag). The session's exact location will be released nearer the time. £35.  

Man in ice bath from The Breath Connection.jpg
Do you want ice with that? Image: The Breath Connection

Dynamic breathwork and ice baths | Whitworth Locke, city centre | 6-7 August

Here's a chance to try Wim Hof-style breathwork and cold water immersion without having to schlep your way to a glacial lake (or Sale Water Park for that matter). The Breath Connection team will bring their ice baths to Whitworth Locke aparthotel for two three-hour sessions of dynamic breathwork and mindful immersion into bitterly cold water. If you're wondering why on earth you'd want to do that, read our article about cold water immersion. In short, it has loads of health benefits including reducing anxiety and boosting immunity. £30 or free for guests at Whitworth Locke. 

Three runners at Heaton Park
Will you reach the finish line before the sun goes down? Image: Run Through

Chase the Sun 5K and 10K at Heaton Park | Heaton Park, North Manchester | 10 August

Race the setting sun at Heaton Park with this Wednesday evening event organised by Run Through. The route takes you right round the park - do it once for the 5K or double it for the 10K. There's also a ten-mile option if you're feeling particularly sprightly. Entry fee includes refreshments, chip-timing, official photographs, and a Heaton Park-themed medal. £24.

Jenny Roche movement
Movement coach Jenny Roche will lead the Shake The Dust session Image: Jenny Roche Movement

Shake The Dust | Hot Lotus Wellbeing Hub, Stockport | 13 August

Yoga teacher Jenny Roche is leading this two-hour session of movement medicine at Hot Lotus in Stockport. Combining shaking, jumping, dancing, intuitive moment, yoga, pilates, somatics and bodyweight training, it's a dynamic workout that'll appeal to anyone who likes to get in their body and out of their thoughts for a while. A kick-ass, curated playlist will help get you in the mood. Go to "Courses" on the class timetable to book. £25.

Keep On Keeping On Run Club group
Running makes you happier, fact. Image: Confidentials

Keep On Keeping On Running Club | Spinningfields, city centre | Tuesdays

Keep On Keeping On (KOKO) running club is an all-abilities, inclusive running club established in the wake of the pandemic to provide a social running space to improve mental health. Founder Jimi Harrison set up the club in light of his own experiences of mental health and loneliness, wanting to create a welcoming environment for people to enjoy the benefits of running without the pressure of so-called serious running clubs. Comfortably-paced, 5K runs take place on Tuesday evenings at 6.30pm, starting and finishing outside The Lawn Club in Spinningfields. Look out for special events in the coming months. Free.

Aerial shot of U-Swim at Salford Quays
Your best option for outdoor swimming in Manchester Image: U-Swim

U-Swim at Salford Quays | Dock 9, Salford Quays | Wednesdays and Saturdays

Want to go outdoor swimming in Manchester city centre? Your best (and safest) option is to head to Dock 9 at Salford Quays for these twice-weekly sessions organised by U-Swim Open Water. The water quality is tested and treated, and there are safety teams on stand-by. Sessions are held on Wednesdays at 5.30pm-7.30pm, and Saturdays at 8am-11am. Pre-book (£7) with a £12.50 Bronze membership, or turn up and pay on the day (£10).  

Boxer Marvin Tomlinson training a girl at Corner HQ
So you wanna be a boxer? Learn the ropes at Corner HQ Image: Corner HQ

Boxing classes at Corner HQ | Hoyle Street, Manchester | Open daily

Want to know how hard and how fast you punch? A new high-tech boxing gym has opened near Escape to Freight Island which lets you measure and compare your punch output using wrist-worn trackers. You can book onto early morning and evening classes during the week, and take part in sparring sessions on Sundays. Their gym space and boxing ring is also available for individual training. Professional boxer Marvin Tomlinson is the head trainer at Corner HQ so you're in good hands. £15. First class is free.

King Street Townhouse spa steam room
Upgrade your staycation with a spa day Image: King Street Townhouse

New spa at King Street Townhouse | King Street, city centre | Open daily

If you’re a fan of spa-days, here’s a new place to go without having to travel out of the city. Luxury hotel King Street Townhouse has just opened a brand new spa featuring a thermal suite, four treatment rooms, a Himalayan salt cave and a spa lounge. Treatments are by ESPA and Perricone MD. There's an Afternoon Tea with Perricone MD event on 13 August if you’re curious about this beauty and skincare brand.

Swimmers at Hathersage swimming pool with bunting
Hathersage lido makes for a lovely summer day out from Manchester Image: Hathersage Swimming Pool

Hathersage Swimming Pool | Hathersage, Peak District| Open daily

Catch the train from Piccadilly to Hathersage in the Peak District for a dip in their heated open-air pool with views of the hills. They run lane swimming and family-friendly sessions every day, and every third Friday of the month, there's a 'Night Swim' with live music from the bandstand. It gets busy during the summer holidays so book in advance. Bookings open every Friday at 7am for sessions the following week. Adults £7, kids £4.

Follow Sarah at Body Confidential (Instagram) or Body Confidential (Facebook)

Main image: Paw Yoga

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