Go Play Outside

Five ideas for an outdoor workout in Kansas City

More energy. Less tension. Greater feelings of revitalization. All of these benefits have been linked to exercising outdoors. So take advantage of summer’s increased daylight and go outside and play. Just be sure to wear sun protective clothing, apply sunscreen, and take breaks if you feel overheated. Here, five ideas for an outdoor workout in the City of Fountains.


It’s hard to get bored when lush trees, beautiful gardens and famous fountains surround you. And park benches are great for dips, pushups and squats. Mill Creek Park boasts adequate green space for informal frisbee, soccer or volleyball games and has 10 built-in exercise stations along its 1.2-mile perimeter loop—all with a view of the J.C. Nichols Fountain. Loose Park has larger open meadows (jumping jacks and cartwheels, anyone?), two 2.5-mile walking/jogging paths, tennis courts and practice boards, and about 3,000 roses to behold in its Rose Garden. Swope Park, the city’s largest, has hiking trails, our first disc golf course, an Olympic pool (lap swimming and recreational swim team offered) and a golf course with skyline views.

Biking, Walking, & Jogging Paths

For longer biking, walking and jogging paths, check out: Riverfront Heritage Trail, a paved 15-mile path that stretches east through Berkley Riverfront Park and west through downtown Kansas City, Kan., ending at Huron Park; the popular Trolley Track Trail, a six-mile, mostly flat, part crushed stone, part asphalt trail that curves through residential neighborhoods that offer plenty of places to stop for a snack or drink along the way; or Indian Creek Bike/Hike Trail, a wide, often woodsy and shaded asphalt path that connects to the northern trailhead of Tomahawk Creek Trail in Leawood City Park. Together the two wind through four communities: Kansas City, Leawood, Overland Park and Olathe—with 17 miles of pathway in OP alone.

Road Races

Need something to keep you accountable and motivated? Signing up for a race can help. There are dozens to choose from ranging from 5Ks (3.1 miles) to a half marathon (13.1 miles). Most entrance fees go to support local charities or organizations so you can do good while you feel good. For a race calendar visit:


To unplug while you get fit, escape into the woods. Lakeside Nature Center at Swope Park hosts monthly 90-minute hikes with a guide; Burr Oak Woods Conservation Area and Nature Center boasts six trails, including the popular Bethany Falls Trail; Ernie Miller Nature Center has nine trails, one of which allows bicycles and dogs; and Parkville Nature Sanctuary transports hikers with three miles of forest-y trails that include a stream and waterfall.

Boot Camp

For organized fitness with a sports practice feel, try Blue Valley Adventure Boot Camp for Women. The fee-based four-week outdoor training program meets for one hour 3 or 4 days a week and takes you through intervals of core conditioning, obstacle courses, jump rope, short distance running and more.