You can find free outdoor fitness activities through your local paper and through doing online research. Learn about hiking and biking trails and find maps through the National Park Service. This blog post is focused on outdoor exercise in D.C., but every city has cheap options for staying active outdoors.
Get out your map. This week, I am taking you on a trip to the best places to exercise outside in Washington, D.C. My summer goal is to take my workouts outside and enjoy all the natural beauty the area has to offer.
Exercise makes you feel invigorated and healthy. It’s also an important step in preventing cancer. 30 minutes of exercise every day should become part of your daily routine.
Start with a run along the National Mall
Running 2 ½ miles is easier when they are along the picturesque National Mall. Take a jog from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and back and you just clocked in 5 miles of exercise while passing the WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial and more. Get on your bike and ride along the Mall and down to Haines Point around the Tidal Basin. (My favorite time to walk/run the Tidal Basin is in late April when the Cherry Blossoms are in full bloom.) Running the National Mall is also a great way to train for the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s 6th annual 5K Walk/Run, held on September 21 at Nationals Park. Get a team together and sign up today.
Yoga around town
One of the greatest things about D.C. is how many parks there are. You never feel like you are in a concrete jungle. Throughout the summer, you can find various free outdoor yoga classes in the parks. Check out the Logan Circle Lululemon Facebook page for weekly Wednesday night yoga classes in Dupont Circle, or take yoga uptown near Columbia Heights for Sunday night yoga in Meridian Hill Park all summer. Many local D.C.ers make it a ritual to end their weekend morning yoga session with brunch. Don’t miss out on this fantastic tradition.
You are not a local until you have experienced the D.C. metro area hiking trails. Both Virginia and Maryland have breathtaking trails that are a must this summer. Set out on an early morning hike to avoid the hot and humid afternoon weather. Great Falls Park, just outside of D.C., is a local favorite. Take a hike and picnic with a healthy lunch by the impressive waterfalls.
If you are looking to stay metro accessible for your next hike, check out Rock Creek Park, versatile for walking, running and biking. Tennis courts and horse riding trails are also fun things Rock Creek Park has to offer. The Kingman Island is a short 1.5 miles walking or running trail along the Anacostia River. Great for beginners, these trails will make you feel a world away.
Go the extra mile on a bike this summer. A must see is the Mount Vernon Trail, spanning 18 miles, taking you from Theodore Roosevelt Island to Mount Vernon itself. Enjoy the bike trail along the Potomac River and through the quaint Alexandria waterfront on this meandering trail.
If an 18 miles bike ride sounds a little intense for you, stay put and bike it out on the roof tops of D.C. this summer at Vida Fitness on U Street.
Get out on the Water
My favorite workout when I have family or friends in town is kayaking down the Potomac River. REI offers weekly kayaking tours of the monuments. You can also rent a kayak hourly at the Georgetown waterfront.
I am looking forward to a fun-filled summer of adventures and fitness. Do not forget while you are enjoying the fantastic parks and trails that the sun will be shining. Always remember to put on sunscreen (at least SPF 30) before going outdoors. Read up on sun safety facts on the Prevent Cancer Foundation website.