3 healthy ways to catch up with friends in Atlanta that don't involve 'Let's do lunch'

Garden together

According to trainer-to-the-stars Jillian Michaels, whether you're digging holes for seedlings or weeding, gardening can burn up to 315 calories a minute. If you and your buddy don't have a garden to rally 'round, try volunteering somewhere like the Georgia Perimeter College Botanical Gardens. They always need volunteers and you'll get to rub elbows with members of the Georgia Native Plant Society.

Volunteer at a thrift store

You can chat with your pal while you sort or sell and even an hour or two a week helps the charity. One good choice if you're at a loss is Second Life Atlanta, a store that raises money to help homeless pets get a second chance at life. They need volunteers with fashion sense, organizational skills  and just a bit of muscle. It's also a great way to meet new friends.

Walk your pups together

Walking burns calories and creates a great mood and so much the better if your canines benefit from your friendship, too. One good option is an off-leash dog park, such as the Piedmont Dog Park, that let your dogs romp while you walk or just sit and chat. This is a particularly good idea if you have a time crunch for fitting in friend time. The Piedmont Park opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m., so you can probably find a great time to hang out with your dogs together.