Spring has arrived in Pittsburgh! This season is a wonderful time to rid yourself of cabin fever and exercise outdoors. While the gym can serve you well on the inevitable rainy days to come, many studies suggest there are benefits to exercising outdoors that you cannot replicate inside. Take advantage of the warm weather and try all of these fantastic ways to stay active in the Steel City this spring.
Hiking is a fantastic cardiovascular workout. The beautiful rolling hills surrounding our city also make it an ideal setting for this type of exercise. Walking is a great low-impact activity accessible to people of all ages, so hiking can serve as a wonderful family bonding activity as well.
The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail is less than two hours south of the city. Beginning in Ohiopyle State Park, this 70-mile stretch of trail is consistently ranked as one of the best hiking spots in the nation and offers different routes for casual walkers and seasoned backpackers. The Rachel Carson Trail is another slightly closer option, spanning 35.7 miles between Harrison Hills County Park in Natrona Heights and North Park in the North Hills.
Although it may seem like a leisurely activity, gardening can also function as a workout. It improves endurance, flexibility, and strength and you can even turn it into a more structured routine by alternating light activities, such as watering, with heavy ones like raking or digging. This is also a great way to get fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Since the final frost in Pittsburgh comes around May 15th, April is the perfect time to start growing seedlings indoors.
Grow Pittsburgh is a great resource for our city. They offer classes, drop-in workshops, and online information to help you get started. And with their new Garden Resource Center that opened last week in Larimer, there is no need to invest in a lot of tools or materials to exercise your green thumb.
It’s a Pittsburgh tradition to see at least one Pirates game each year, but you can also cheer on the Buccos from the Allegheny River on a kayak. Kayaking is another low-impact way to improve fitness and health. The arm movements that kayaking requires promote upper body strength, and rowing also serves as an efficient aerobic workout.
Venture Outdoors’ program Kayak Pittsburgh offers boat rentals every weekend in May and 7 days per week after Memorial Day. Their North Shore location is next to PNC Park, just under the Roberto Clemente Bridge, but you can also escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience lake kayaking on North Park Lake.
The spring season is the ideal time to hit the streets or trails and take your bike for a spin. Try some of the biking paths in Pittsburgh that lead through Schenley Park and follow along the Monongahela River. The terrain and hills are great strength training for your lower body and give you a ready-made, well-rounded workout regimen. By following the Great Allegheny Passage and the Three Rivers Trail, you can even bike your way to Kennywood to exercise your vocal cords on the Jack Rabbit.
If you don’t own a bike, check out Pittsburgh’s new bike-sharing program, Healthy Ride, where you can rent a bicycle to start cycling around the city.
With all of the amazing events and organizations in Pittsburgh, it is no wonder the Steel City has frequently topped The Economist’s list of Most Livable Cities for the last ten years. Take full advantage of the fitness options you have as a resident of Pittsburgh and stay healthy while enjoying the beautiful spring season.