The crisp air and pleasantly sunny skies of early summer will be gone before you know it. Before it gets too hot and sticky, take your exercise routine outside.
Whether you like to work out alone, with your family or in a group, Kansas City has plenty of venues and classes, and a lot of them are free – unlike a gym membership. In my family, we are frequent users of parks and trails. When the kids come along, Jack loves to ride his bike or scooter, while Pete rides in the stroller.
Check with your local high school to see if the track and tennis courts are available for public use. You probably drive past open-air basketball courts on your way to work – all you need is a few friends and a ball. You can also dig that kayak out of the garage and hit area lakes and rivers with a friend or two.
KC Parks is a great resource for finding trails close to home if you live in the city. Mill Creek Park, for example, has 10 equipment stations so you can get a gym-style workout along the trail. If you live a little further out, check your city’s website for places to play. Parkville has a nature sanctuary with hiking trails. Olathe’s Heritage Park has an outdoor fitness course.
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If you like to work out in a group setting, check Meetup.com’s KC Outdoor Fitness page for like-minded hikers, bikers, paddlers and more. Tai chi and yoga are natural choices for a peaceful morning outdoors, even if it’s just with a friend or two. Local yoga instructors even hold Saturday yoga classes on the south lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Even if it’s just a walk around the block, working out without walls hemming you in makes your routine seem more varied and will keep you motivated as you soak up vitamin D from the sunlight. Even if you return to the same park, changes in the weather and environment make every day feel different.
Being outside is better for you, too. Recycled air inside a building can’t compare to the energy-boosting effects of fresh air. You’ll also burn more calories on the complex terrain of nature than you could on a treadmill or other machine.
And with no clocks to watch or other people waiting for time on the elliptical, you might end up exercising longer just for the fun of it.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.