I had such high hopes for my fitness journey in 2020, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying that COVID-19 sort of derailed those plans.
From the initial quarantine period where my gym was closed to the stress of the entire global pandemic situation, working out got bumped down on my list of priorities. But now that it’s summer and there are tons of ways to get in a good workout outdoors, there are no more excuses.
Working out doesn’t have to be complex or expensive. Several activities on this list are free or donation-based and the ones that do cost money are reasonably priced and super enjoyable activities that have the added benefit of being good workouts. Stay safe and stay active, Columbus!
Go for a run at Batelle Darby Creek Metro Park
Of course, you can take a run at any park you’d like, but I personally love the variety of trails at Batelle Darby Creek Metro Park. You can run right along the water, through the shade of the forest, or out through the fields near the bison. Plus, if it’s hot after your run, you can always dip your feet in the creek to cool off.
Go for a swim at Alum Creek State Park
Working out is always more fun and a little easier when you’re doing it in the water. The beach at Alum Creek offers plenty of space to spread out and you can spend your whole day swimming around and busting out some sweet water aerobics moves.
Take an outdoor yoga class
From sessions accompanied by farm animals to recharging sessions to help you practice a little self-care, there are a variety of yoga classes around Columbus that you can still attend safely. It’s easy to social distance yoga mats at parks and other outdoor areas. And if you still don’t feel completely comfortable, that’s okay. You can take your own yoga mat outside and participate in a virtual class.
Hit up the Climbing Wall at Scioto Audubon Metro Park
If you’re into rock climbing and you live in Columbus, it’s highly unlikely that wouldn’t already know about the Climbing Wall at Scioto Audubon Metro Park, but I believe it deserves a place on this list nonetheless. The wall features bouldering, top rope, and lead climbing. You have to bring your own climbing harness, but there are four auto belays at the wall. Climbers must be over age 13 and those between 13 to 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Take an epic bike trail tour
Central Ohio has some incredible bike paths and greenways that you could spend so much time exploring this summer. From urban rides that take you along the riverfront through the heart of Downtown Columbus to countryside rides with beautiful views, it sounds cliche but there really is something for everyone. You can plan your own bike rides or check out this handy list of interesting paths around the city.
Go for an early morning hike at Clear Creek Metro Park
If you can wake up early, head down to Clear Creek Metro Park and hit the trails before they get crowded. Not only is the park more magical at dawn, but you’ll also get to hear the forest waking up as you hike through.
Try your luck at Stand Up Paddleboarding
I’m not historically known for having incredible balance. Honestly, even that is overselling my ability. But it doesn’t matter because even if you fall off your stand up paddleboard every time, it’s still super fun. Stand up paddleboarding is a surprisingly good core workout and it comes with the added bonus of not hurting if you fall off. Through SUP Columbus, you can rent a board and get a lesson at Hoover Reservoir. For more info, you can visit SUP Columbus here.
Help out a pup in need by walking a dog or two
Want to get your steps in and become best friends with an adorable dog? Franklin County Dog Shelter is always in need of volunteers to walk the dogs. Not only will you be doing something good for yourself, but you’ll also make the day of a shelter pup a little bit brighter. You can get more info about volunteering at the shelter right here. You could also reach out to your elderly or immunocompromised family members or neighbors. They may not feel as comfortable taking their pets out right now and would probably appreciate someone taking them along for a run.
I don’t think it’s possible to have a better workout while sitting down than by kayaking. Your whole body will be feeling the burn, all while you’re enjoying some of Central Ohio’s beautiful waterways. Here’s what you need to know about kayaking in Columbus so you can fully prepare for your next aquatic adventure.