If you reside in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago or San Francisco, you have access to some of the hottest and trendiest health clubs and group exercise classes right in your back yard. And even if you live in an urban part of Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh or any other large metropolitan area, you still have a lot of different workout options available. But what if running or walking outdoors is your favorite activity? Well, urban exercisers have to deal with the hustle and bustle of city life, which can put a damper on your exercise experience.
Urban living may give you the freedom to function without a car and easily walk to hip shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, but when you’re trying to actually fit in a workout, navigating the city safely and efficiently can be a bit of a challenge. After all, you’re up against pollution, traffic, possible crime, uneven sidewalks and other treacherous conditions, not to mention all the traffic and intersections that stop you multiple times mid-run.
Here are six ideas for where and when to navigate the urban landscape. Make sure to check out the complete article for bonus tips for when it comes to your safety and city life.
1. Park it. This is an obvious one, but it’s too important to ignore. City parks are made for running and walking!
2. Run in the place where you live. While parks are great for getting away, sometimes straying from the park can be a good thing when you need variety or a change of pace (pun intended). Jog or power walk through a residential area of town that has an interesting history or one that you find particularly charming or beautiful.
3. Play red light, green light. Next time you’re stuck at a stoplight, don’t just stop or jog in place, impatiently waiting for the light to turn green. Use the break to do some squats or use that street pole for a few one-armed push-ups or that city bench for an assisted plank.
4. Get on track. Running in a circle may not strike your fancy, but running and walking tracks can be great places for city dwellers to work out in peace. On the track, you can easily track your distance, avoid the traffic and distractions of street running and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have an easier-on-the-body rubberized surface for your workout.
5. Get active on your commute. Unless you work from home, you already have to commute to your job. So why not multitask with an active commute that doubles as a workout?
6. Hit the gym. You may love outdoor running and walking, but when the weather is bad or you work late hours, it’s hard to get out there and hit the pavement. A gym membership may be expensive, but it allows you to work out safely and comfortably.
More from SparkPeople:
Theodora of Losing Weight in the City will be hitting the road, alongside a few FITNESS staffers, for the ING New York City Marathon in just 10 days! After months of dedicated training, we can’t wait to watch as this social media star conquers yet another race with style. We asked Theodora about the music that keeps her moving and her favorite medal-worthy moment.
My favorite way to work out: Running. I’ve so far run seven half-marathons, one full marathon and am training for my second—NYC! I love the way I can totally zone out or sweat out my frustrations through a good run.
Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: I guess “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus should qualify as most embarrassing, huh?
My fave fit snack: I’m pretty addicted to sunflower butter on a whole-wheat English muffin with either bananas or strawberries. Or just bananas.
My biggest indulgence: I don’t have too bad a sweet tooth, so I always save my calories for beer. There’s nothing like a cold beer after a hard race.
My “I Did It” moment: After losing 50 pounds, I nearly cried when I crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon. It was 85 degrees and humid, and there were people passing out all over the place, but I pushed through and finished. I never dreamed I’d be able to complete a marathon!
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