Exercise is an important part of our overall health and wellbeing. According to the World Health Organization, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical exercise each week. Additionally, research from the health and life insurance firm Vitality shows that 21 minutes of physical activity per day can increase a person’s life expectancy by more than three years.
And according to the Journal of Stress Management, outdoor exercise is more enjoyable and energizing than indoor workouts. Thankfully, the Bay Area offers incredible opportunities to get fit everywhere you look! Below are some great outdoor exercise spots in our area.
The Dip Sea
A popular and historic trail located in Mill Valley, this classic 7.5-mile trail is a great spot for an intense and scenic hike. Throughout its many challenging twists and turns, you’ll find an urban park, creeks, foothills, and a spectacular view of the coast.
Lyon Street Steps
If you’re ready for a great stair-stepping workout, Lyon Street Steps is the place for you. It takes about an hour to summit the 244 stairs, and once you get to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, the Palace of Fine Arts, and Angel Island.
Part of the Pacific Coast Trail, Baker Beach includes a steep incline of 200 sand stairs that provide great cardio and leg exercise. It’s a short and easy drive from downtown and offers an excellent view of the Golden Gate Bridge. There are occasionally nude sunbathers on the beach, so use discretion if you’re planning on bringing children.
Next time you’re near the Stanford campus, check out this 3.3-mile paved trail. Stanford Dish attracts numerous Palo Alto residents and students who enjoy visiting to hike or jog. The trail includes numerous inclines and declines, but the gorgeous scenery is a welcome reward for all your hard work.
Don’t let the name fool you! Slacker Hill may be a brief 1-mile trail hike, but it is an intense workout offering breathtaking views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The trail is accessible year-round and is a must for hikers and joggers alike.
Get Fit, San Francisco!
You can enjoy these wonderful exercise hotspots by yourself or join others in the community by signing up for outdoor exercise classes, such as Schnell Schnell Outdoor Fitness. They offer fitness classes at Kezar Stadium for small groups that include circuit training, jump rope regimens, and form-running to take your strength and speed training to the next level.
Another outdoor exercise option is learning to swing dance at Golden Gate Park on Sunday afternoons from 12:00 to 12:30 p.m. The classes are offered by Lindy in the Park and are free to the public. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and a friendly smile!
For those of you who prefer the water to dry land, try the pre-masters fitness swim class at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus (a distinguished Canopy Health alliance member), which offers one of the few outdoor swimming pools in San Francisco. During this class, you will learn how to improve your endurance, strength, and stroke technique through drills, turns, and interval training.
Whether you live in the Bay Area or are just visiting, you don’t need to limit your workout regimen to the gym. Instead, take an outdoor adventure through one of the options above. Our unique geography, climate, and landscape won’t disappoint! And if you are curious about the Canopy Health alliance or our insurance carrier partners, please speak with your employer about joining our expanding alliance.
Physical Activity. (2018). Occupational Health & Wellbeing. World Health Organization. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs385/en/
Plante, T. G., Cage, C., Clements, S., & Stover, A. (2006, February). Psychological benefits of exercise paired with virtual reality: Outdoor exercise energizes whereas indoor virtual exercise relaxes. International Journal of Stress Management, 13(1), 108-117.