- January 4, 2016

10 Totally Austin Ways To Boost Your Health Outside A Gym

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Gym rats hate this time of year. Health clubs and gyms are flooded with people who’ve made their new year’s resolutions to get fit. Most of the newbies will be gone in a few weeks, so things will get back to normal. But if you’re really serious about your health and getting in shape this year, you don’t necessarily need a gym to do it.

Austin is known as a fit city, and a big part of earning this reputation has been the many outdoor activities you can do to stay in shape. Here are 10 ideas for workouts to keep you from annoying the guys grunting at themselves in full length mirrors.

10.) Power walking at your favorite mall

Photo: Flickr user Avinash Kumar, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Avinash Kumar, creative commons licensed.

We’ve all seen them. They wear their pastel and neon track suits as they breeze by each store. Power walkers may be few and far between, but they’re out there. And you can be one, too. Just pick your favorite mall like Barton Creek Square, The Domain, Hill Country Galleria or Round Rock Premium Outlets, and get those legs moving and arms pumping. Track suits are optional.

9.) Tennis, anyone?

Photo: Flickr user Stuart Seeger, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Stuart Seeger, creative commons licensed.

Austin has several tennis leagues and plenty of great courts to hone your kick serve, drop shot and overhead slam skills. All you need is a partner, and you can rally for hours on end for a great cardio workout. Check out the map below for the locations of Austin’s public tennis courts. Or, for more serious entrants, there’s the Austin Tennis League. Have fun!

8.) Traveling your neighborhood on foot

Photo: Flickr user SurFeRGiRL30, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user SurFeRGiRL30, creative commons licensed.

You may think you know your neighborhood, but if you only see it from behind your windshield, you’re missing out. Take some time to walk through your neighborhood. You’ll meet your neighbors and gain new perspectives on the little part of town you call home.

7.) Jogging on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail

Photo: Flickr user edris safari, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user edris safari, creative commons licensed.

The Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail is a gathering point for Austin’s fitness fanatics. However, you don’t have to be a world class athlete to enjoy this trail. Walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists all “share the road” that lines the north and south shores of Lady Bird Lake. Jogging will get your heart rate up and will give you a bit of confidence passing the walkers. You’ll get passed, too, but you won’t be the slowest person on the trail.

6.) Cycling up and down West Austin’s hills

Photo: Flickr user megan ann, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user megan ann, creative commons licensed.

Cycling is big in Austin. Despite Lance Armstrong’s sharp decline in popularity, his sport remains an activity many Austinites love to do. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, you can find a good number of cyclists rolling up and down the hills of west Austin. If you join them, watch out for vehicles because the hills can obscure cyclists and drivers from one another.

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5.) Hiking through a nature area

Photo: Flickr user Brandon Turner, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Brandon Turner, creative commons licensed.

Austin has acres and acres of natural area for you to enjoy. Two of the biggest natural areas are Barton Creek Greenbelt and McKinney Falls State Park. Both are worth packing a lunch and strapping on your hiking boots. Also, check out our list of 10 beautiful Austin trails that will replenish your soul. There’s guaranteed to be one in there for you!

4.) Yoga at a local studio

Photo: Flickr user Earl McGehee, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Earl McGehee, creative commons licensed.

Yoga doesn’t look like something that will absolutely wear you out, but under the right instructor, it certainly is. Yoga will give you increased flexibility through a low-impact workout. If your body can’t handle running and competitive sports, yoga could become the cornerstone of your workout regimen. Plus, Austin has lots of free and donation-based yoga classes with openings for new participants.

3.) Boot camp at a local park

Photo: Flickr user Fort Rucker, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Fort Rucker, creative commons licensed.

Enterprising fitness gurus around town hold boot camps at public parks. For the instructor, this means no office or studio space to maintain, and for the student, this means an outdoor workout and a nearby, well known location. With just a few students, each one gets a good amount of personal attention. HEAT Bootcamp is one of the most popular choices, but there are lots more available — and plenty of New Year’s deals are still on offer.

2.) Swimming at Barton Springs Pool

Photo: Flickr user Phil Roeder, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user Phil Roeder, creative commons licensed.

You want a shock to your system? Go jump into the constantly 68-degree Barton Springs Pool. People are there year-round letting the frigid water shock their muscles. If you can’t handle Barton Springs, you might opt for an indoor pool at the YMCA of Austin.

1.) Rowing on Lady Bird Lake

Photo: Flickr user midwestnerd, creative commons licensed.

Photo: Flickr user midwestnerd, creative commons licensed.

If you want some resistance training with a view, try paddling yourself up and down Lady Bird Lake. You can rent canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards at Rowing Dock. You can also join Austin Rowing Club to learn how to work as a team to get rowboat speeding through the water.

Feature photo: Flickr user rudresh_calls, creative commons licensed.