New Year's resolutions have been made and fitness centers across the nation are filled with holiday food-laden folks who packed on an extra pound or two eating and drinking their way from Halloween to Happy New Year! Before you know it Spring break, summer and the beach will be calling! How's a girl or guy to get in shape, stay on top of their game at work and possibly squeeze in a little fun?
Lucky for you, I have found some pleasurable and unique ways to burn off calories, making exercise more creative and less like a chore. And, an added benefit is you can learn while you burn, enjoy some beautiful scenery and even re-connect with Mother Nature. So grab that workout gear and let's get going:
Consider a state park for a mid-winter exercise change of scenery. Prices to stay at one of the inns or cabins are usually affordable and exercise opportunities abound. The Inns at Pickwick and Paris Landinghave limited indoor workout facilities but all the state parks in West Tennessee offer a variety of outdoor exercise options. During your visit, take up biking, hiking, horseback riding and golf. At Paris Landing you can hike along the Par 72, 18-hole golf course with several holes located lakeside. Consider hiking through Shiloh National Military Park and learn about the Civil War's first major battle fought in the Western theater.
While New Jersey has the Atlantic City boardwalk, West Tennessee has some pretty nifty boardwalks that are perfect for a brisk walk or even practicing Tai Chi. The boardwalks are a great way to re-connect with nature and renew your mind. Whether you are in Jackson at Cypress Grove Nature Park (a very cool mile of elevated boardwalk through a cypress forest), Reelfoot Lake Boardwalk, be on the lookout for eagles, or at Rossville's William B. Clark, Sr. Nature Preserve you can walk your way to a healthier you.
You can also take a walking tour. In Memphis try building stamina and burning calories by joining Jimmy Ogle's Talks and Tours. Learn Memphis history and tidbits while walking vigorously through downtown Memphis. Or check out the Shelby Farms Greenline, a 6.5 mile urban trail that connects Midtown Memphis to Shelby Farms Park, the largest of its kind in the country. While walking this trail my husband and I came upon a beautiful doe and several other woodland creatures. This cool trail offers some incredible prospects for hiking, biking with a bike rental facility, and running.
Try the seven mile loop around Herb Parsons Lake or hike the trails around the largest man-made lake in West Tennessee, the Carroll County 1000 Acre Recreation Lake. Both are also great for fishing and outdoor water activity when the weather warms up. Cyclists say the 8.13 mile moderate to difficult trail at Stanky Creek located at Nesbitt Park in Bartlett is one of the most enjoyable trails around.
Feeling a little adventurous? Then you have to try Sky Zone Trampoline Park in either Memphis or Jackson. Sky Zone offers entertainment with a great workout. You will flip, jump, and experience the weightlessness of bouncing all while keeping that heart rate up. The trampoline courts allow people of all ages and fitness levels to have a blast while jumping to good health. Take advantage of a SkyRobics fitness class or Open Jump experience. Open Jump is the one time you can literally bounce off the walls!
Bowling, in-door volleyball, Putt-Putt golf, disc golf yoga, paintball and Pilates all round out the myriad of fun exercise choices awaiting you in West Tennessee.