By Catherine Miller
Looking for a workout class without being inside a class? Need new scenery for your next open-air excursion?
Summertime is here and what better time to get outdoors and enjoy sunshine and fresh air after being cooped up for most of the spring.
Many health and fitness organizations have moved their workouts to virtual classes in the open air. Both Independent Health and BlueCross BlueShield of WNY have workouts available on their websites that you can take virtually anywhere. This allows you to bring your laptop or tablet anywhere you have a hotspot or internet access and enjoy fitness classes at the beach, in the park with a few friends or in the comfort of your own backyard.
Look forward to joining BCBS of WNY on the Buffalo Waterfront website. Click the link for “Fitness Happens Virtually Anywhere.” The most noted coaches in our area are available free online to lead you on daily virtual classes, including Zumba, Bridge to Fitness, Boxstar Training, and a variety of yoga classes. With a beautiful Buffalo waterfront backdrop, the new episodes are added throughout the week to keep things fresh.
Independent Health’s “Fitness in the Parks” workouts offer virtual classes in kickboxing, fusion, yoga, cardio kick and boot camp. YMCA certified instructors will run their workouts on the YMCA Buffalo Niagara Facebook page. No registration is needed. Just check out the schedule on the Independent Health website (www.independenthealth.com)and show up the YMCA Facebook site for a fabulous fitness session. Add your favorite classes to your phone’s calendar so you don’t miss a beat. Once you’ve participated in a few classes you may just want to develop your own workout with a yoga mat and a few pieces of equipment available online.
If you are keeping socially distant and want a complete change of scenery while staying cool this summer, what better way than to kayak down the Buffalo riverbend? If you have your own kayak you will find plenty of kayak launch sites along the Buffalo River. If you are seeking to rent a kayak, Elevator Alley Kayak is open for the season. Kayaks can be rented from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day and all they ask if for a bit of patience as they thoroughly clean the equipment between uses. Schedule your rental session online and your kayak will be waiting for you at the Mutual Riverfront Park at the base of Hamburg Street. You can also stop into their store in the Old Barrel Factory building to rent, pick up your gear and get some basic tips on kayaking. Masks will be required inside their shop.
“Most people think that kayaking is a good arm workout but it’s actually a great core workout,” said Cas Regan, manager of Elevator Alley Kayak, “This is a great place for beginners to start out as we have videos in our store that people can watch prior to taking out the kayak. The videos instruct on proper arm technique and safety information.”
Dozens of little-known trails
For the walkers and joggers in the group who are seeking a bit more variety in your outdoor workouts, Western New York is a great place to get out and get moving. With dozens of little-known trails and day trip get-away options, why not change up your next outdoor activity?
Seeking to stay close to home but get your steps in? Ellicott Creek Park offers over 150 acres of land to stretch your legs. Winding through Ellicott Creek the paths offer bird watching and peaceful surroundings. Not far off is Glen Falls Park which offers a scenic waterfall setting with waterfowl and floral peppered trails.
The Burchfield Nature Center in West Seneca boasts a wide array of trees you can seek to identify while on your walk and its website offers a trail guide as well as a tree identification brochure. If a water view is what you are seeking, head down Fuhrmann Boulevard and stop — well — anywhere. From Gallagher Beach to Wilkenson Pointe you will find pathways with great views to walk, jog or bike. If you are seeking a travel a bit farther from home consider the beautiful trails at Alleghany State Park, Letchworth State Park or Watkins Glen Park. From cascading waterfalls to thunderous rocks, you can trek along the most beautiful natural settings this state has to offer. Check out www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-york and follow links to the trails near you.
Photo: People kayak on the Buffalo River. If you have your own kayak you will find plenty of kayak launch sites along the Buffalo River. If not, you can rent one very easily.