Oklahoma City offers many outdoor paths and trails that provide alternatives to the “hamster on a wheel” feel that many get while running on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike.
Those interested in feeling the fresh fall air can walk, run, bike, climb, play sports or participate in yoga classes, all free of encumbering walls and many free of charge. Local clubs and associations encourage members and nonmembers alike through training sessions, competitions, outings and meetings, while building a sense of camaraderie.
Running is the most convenient workout routine that can be practiced outside — sidewalk, track or trail.
Several outdoor options exist locally. Lake Hefner offers a 10-mile asphalt course that is marked every half mile. Nichols Hills Park on N. Grand Avenue offers several road courses that come with the benefit of light traffic and well-lit streets.
right, Cara Rogers-Nance and Camille Herron go for a morning run.
Dolese Youth Park, N.W. 50th Street and Meridian Avenue, offers a 2.1-mile natural trail for those wanting a change from pavement.
One important factor when running outdoors is safety. Cara Rogers- Nance, triathlete and president of the Oklahoma Landrunners Running Club, emphasizes going against traffic while running on the road. By staying on the left side of the street, cars remain visible.
Other awareness tips include hitting the streets without headphones (to increase alertness) and running only in well-lit areas. Invite a running buddy if hesitant about working out outdoors. One way to increase running partners is to join clubs like hers, which meets weekly to run and monthly in general.
“It’s just fun,” Rogers-Nance said.
“We have such a good social group. It’s a great way for people to get out of their box.”
Those interested in taking their workout on two wheels can utilize any of the many local biking trails.
lakes offer convenient and challenging trails for both beginners and
Tour de France trainees. The Hefner-Overholser Trail allows riders to
explore both lakes. The Lake Stanley Draper trail provides three
connecting dirt loops that equal 12 miles.
Gil Summy, OKC Velo Club president, said cyclists should choose roads carefully, avoiding busy streets and high-traffic areas.
“Ride out from the shoulder so it gives you somewhere to go if a driver does pass too closely,” he said.
Other tips include wearing a helmet, retaining visibility and obeying stop signs and traffic signals.
“What tends to distinguish more serious riders from casual riders is that they take road rules more seriously,” Summy said.
the OKC Velo Club is predominantly for competitive cyclists,
recreational cyclists can look to the Oklahoma Bicycling Society.
fans, mountain men and those with an affinity for adventure all enjoy
the change of pace that rock climbing brings to a fitness routine. From
the inside of a gym to the side of a mountain, it can be practiced on a
variety of surfaces.
OKC Climb meets weekly for climbing activities. Once a month, the group takes a trip to explore the mountains in the Oklahoma
vicinity; the Wichita Mountains is the preferred destination of many
Climbers preferring a more regulated
environment might choose Rocktown Climbing Gym, 200 S.E. Fourth, which
offers indoor and outdoor climbs ranging in difficulty.
gives you the feeling of real rock climbing,” said Aaron Gibson,
co-owner and manager. “You use the horizon as a point of reference to
realize how high you are. Climbing indoors is a more controlled
environment, but it is just as safe and just as exciting to go outside
your first time.”
matter the outdoor sport, the changing leaves, the cool breeze and the
warm sun are perks that will have Oklahomans falling in love with
fitness in no time.
Photo by Mark Hancock