The change in temperature, the dramatic shift in family schedules, and the overwhelming sense that the holidays are right around the corner all have me feeling a bit out of sorts lately. My head seeks balance and contentment while my body wants to move.
Our coastal city offers the perfect backdrop when seeking ways to stay fit and healthy. The myriad of parks lined with natural trails and graceful waterways create a relaxing soundtrack for the mind whether I’m running, paddling or biking my worries away. When the weather gets nasty, there’s no excuse to quit moving thanks to Virginia Beach’s investment in recreation centers offering indoor pools, gyms and weight rooms. And when a bit of healthy competition is the motivator, a wide variety of sports leagues means exercise can be balanced with a good dose of camaraderie and laughter.
When life gets busy, it helps when someone else does the research. So here’s the lowdown: the following are five ways to stay healthy this fall in Virginia Beach.
1) Join the Virginia Beach Community Recreation Centers. As a resident of Virginia Beach, an annual membership is only $86 per year or $12 per month for an adult. Youth and senior memberships are even lower. Those prices fit nicely into my crunched budget. Though my membership includes access to all six rec centers in Virginia Beach, I’m a creature of habit and tend to work out at the one closest to me. When I’m bringing my daughters, it’s another story. They can be pretty picky about which pool they want to visit – sometimes they want a slide and sometimes they just want to dive and swim laps. On the days we want to stay dry, we head for the rock wall or the game rooms.
2) Get moving with group fitness classes. If you’re anything like I used to be, the idea of taking a class with a group of strangers is nothing short of terrifying. When I want to work out, I put my head phones on, hop on the treadmill and do my thing. That all changed one day when at the encouragement (read: coercion) of a friend, I found myself smack in the middle of a BODYPUMP™ class. Once the music kicked on and the instructor got the class moving, the energy in the air was contagious – I was hooked! The participants and instructors are not only encouraging, but incredibly welcoming. Step out of your comfort zone and see for yourself. Group fitness classes are offered at all of the recreation centers with options to purchase a single class or an unlimited class pass.
a big thanks to the sponsor of this article, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation
3) Paddle the waterways. There’s no better way to get up close and personal with our great outdoors and the wildlife that calls Virginia Beach home than to get out on the water. From the tranquility of Stumpy Lake to the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean, we are so fortunate to live in a city that provides access to such a variety of waterways. Whether you prefer kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or boating, you’re never more than a quick drive away. On a recent visit to the Lake Smith / Lake Lawson Natural Area, my girls witnessed fish jumping out of the water, turtles sunning on the banks, and an osprey leaving the nest. For a few hours, their iPads weren’t missed one bit.
4) Spend time in the parks. Studies confirm that time spent outdoors can have miraculous effects on mood, stress levels, and even quality of sleep. Incredibly, there are over 265 parks in Virginia Beach, each featuring a unique set of amenities and landscape. My children are ecstatic to slide, swing and climb everything at Kids Cove at Mount Trashmore Park. My springer spaniel loves to run free at the dog parks, while places like the Japanese garden at Red Wing Park allow me a moment of serenity that is so desperately needed when the days become chaotic. On a recent Saturday afternoon, I played my first game of disc golf, which was a fantastic way to catch up with friends in the beautiful setting of Bayville Farms Park. Need help finding a park with the amenities you seek? Virginia Beach offers a FREE app to find a nearby park that fits your outdoor style. Just search for VB ParkFinder in the App Store or on Google Play.
5) Join a sports league. Fall weekends are perfect for watching football, but it’s even better when I can get off the couch and get in the game! Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation offers leagues for sand football, softball, basketball, volleyball and even pickleball. Grab some friends or colleagues and form a team. Friendly competition and comradery is good for the soul.
Getting fit isn’t just about building muscles. Achieving balance in our lives means being both physically and mentally healthy. With the rigors of family, work, and other day-to-day stresses, it can be quite a challenge to find the time to focus on health and wellness, but the payoff is worth it. Enjoy all that Virginia Beach has to offer this fall and make some lasting memories with your family while you’re at it.
Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation, the sponsor of this article, is dedicated to promoting healthy, balanced lifestyles and protecting our coastal environment. We encourage all residents to take advantage of the more than 265 city park sites, six community recreation centers, as well as the adult and youth sports leagues. Experience all the fun of Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation at VBgov.com/parks.