The City Shape-Up Guide: Get Outdoors to Get in Gear!
|It's not too late to take your workout outside and make the most of the wonderland of your city’s parks, paths and recreational facilities. Whether you're looking to tone your butt, abs or thighs, we have a have a list of the best fitness bets to get you in shape this season whether you’re staying local, road tripping or beach combing.
If you are looking for a cardio workout that’s also a total upper body conditioner, working out on, rather than in, the water offers many benefits. Plus there is the added bonus of paddling through picturesque rivers, lakes, and streams, which can also help renew the spirit and inspire creativity. If you’re new to the sport or stuck in the city, local outlets like City Kayak in San Francisco and Downtown Boathouse in New York City offer free rides, lessons and day trips for land-locked urbanites.
Summer is a great time to cool off in the water while participating in this healthy activity. Not only does swimming tone many of the major muscle groups, but it is also better for your bones and joints, eliminating the potential dangers of high-impact exercises. If the only body of water you have access to is your tub, look for hotels with swimming pools in your area as many may offer all-day passes for a nominal fee, making them the perfect retreat for your workout, relaxation and perhaps a sundeck offering scenic views of your city.
Peddling is an excellent way to explore the backwoods or get around town, plus it builds up your quads, hamstrings, hip flexors and calves. So rather than spinning your wheels indoors, find a local path or mountain trail -- and get moving! These days even sightseeing tourists can double their fun by taking advantage of public bike rentals like Bixi in Montreal or Denver’s B-Bicycle. Bike sharing is just now catching on in North America. But there are more than 50 cities in Europe and Asia with such offerings, including the world's biggest bike-sharing program, Velib, in Paris, where some 200,000 bikes await riders at 1,500 stations.
Outdoor trekking is an excellent way to connect with nature and can revive the spirit. Did we mention that it’s also a pre-picnic activity, especially if you’re planning a special date? If you want to map out the perfect path, check out your local Department of Parks and Recreation website for a complete list of trails listed by distance, difficulty and location.
Walking or Running
Walking and/or running around your city is the easiest, most affordable solution because it does not require equipment, lessons or special skills. If you’re planning a trek downtown but prefer not to spend it solo, city walking tours are a great way to get active and be social. History, architecture and food themed guided tours are aplenty, so pick your passion and get ready to pound the pavement.
Rollerblading offers more than just an intense cardio workout — it's a great low-impact alternative to running for your hips, inner and outer thighs, and buttocks. The sport’s popularity comes and goes (In 2010, the number of in-line skaters plummeted by 64 percent from 2000) but die-hard fans never hang up their blades. Practice, as they say, makes perfect and if you want to pick up some tricks from the experts, simply head to a local skating rink in the summer months or join a rollerblading group.