Every year, gyms throughout Colorado Springs become packed with folks looking to focus on their physical health in the new year. It’s an awesome goal and one that should be celebrated. However, a few months in, many will find their resolve flickering and many more will quit. We think we have a solution. Skip the gym. Wait, hear us out. We happen to think that one of the main reasons people start to drop their resolution to exercise is that the gym is boring! Why on earth are you hopping onto a treadmill in front of a television when Colorado offers acres of beautiful outdoor space to get your heart pumping and your soul singing all year long? So, yes, skip the crowded, static, temperature-controlled confines of your local gym and take your resolution outside. Here are our favorite spots to get — and stay — fit in Colorado Springs in 2018.
The Pikes Peak Greenway / Sante Fe / Fountain Creek Regional Trail
This gem of a trail system travels from Fountain all the way to Monument (and beyond) with a surface that varies from hard-packed gravel to pavement. The section that winds along downtown Colorado Springs offers a pretty level grade, while the sections leading to Monument and Fountain provide hilly terrain to get your muscles burning. The portion of the trail that runs through the Air Force Academy (stay on the trail at all times) is an absolutely gorgeous mix of forest and grassy hillsides that cannot be missed. Not only that, this trail connects to multiple other trails that access different points of the city, giving you even more ways to explore as you exercise. Perfect for walking, running and biking. Replaces treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical.
Red Rock Canyon Open Space
Hello hiking, nice to meet you! Like we said above, why waste your energy on machines that lock you in place for miles when you could be out exploring while you stay fit? Red Rock Open Space offers miles of terrain to help you get strong and keep your resolve. There are also multiple areas where you can bring your well-behaved pup and help them stay in shape, too. You can even ride your horse (if you have one). We’ve been hiking this locale for years and it never stops surprising us with all that it has to offer (like a paragliding launch point!). Rock climbers can also get fit when they register (check the website for rules). Perfect for walking, hiking, biking, climbing, running and horseback riding. Replaces treadmill, climbing wall (with appropriate equipment and experience), stair climber, elliptical, stationary bike and some weightlifting.
The Manitou Incline
This famous favorite is back and better than ever after being closed for upgrades. One of the city’s most challenging workouts, the Incline ascends 2,000 feet in elevation in just under a mile. And if you think a mile isn’t much, you’re in for a big surprise. It’s a thigh-burning, calf-spiking, strenuous climb that will absolutely burn calories and totally provide you the exercise you crave. If getting fit is new to you, take special care as you tackle this new regimen. There’s no shame in building up in your first few attempts. Take care in the descent down Barr Trail to stick to marked trails and not accidentally build new ones by cutting switchbacks. Perfect for hiking. Replaces stair climber, elliptical and (cardio-wise) treadmill.
Tips for Your Outdoor Exercise Resolution
One of the differences between the gym and the great outdoors is the climate and the access (or lack thereof) to water. The gym is temperature controlled, which means dressing for the occasion is easy because you can prance around in a t-shirt and shorts. In Colorado’s wilderness, however, you need to dress in layers for exercise, so you can add or subtract as you work up a sweat. Even if it’s cold, you’ll want sunscreen and a hat, too. Just because you can’t feel the impact of the sun doesn’t mean it’s not toasting your skin to a brilliant red. And, as always, bring water. Water is critical, because these trails don’t offer drinking fountains (and drinking from a river is going to give you the most miserable weight-loss routine you ever imagined). Don’t skimp on it because it’s heavy or inconvenient. No one has ever been sad they had too much water, we promise.
Congratulations on committing to a year of health and wellness. We hope that these recommendations for great outdoor exercise locations in Colorado Springs will help you have fortitude when you want to falter — and make sticking to your resolution as fun as possible.
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