Start the New Year Off Right

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With the “holidaze” upon us and 2013 right around the corner, people are starting to think about what they’d like to do better in the New Year. For some it’s taking up a new hobby or checking something off their bucket list. For others it might be taking a class or perhaps volunteering. But for almost everyone, getting in shape is resolution number one. Many people start off with a great plan, but heading indoors to the gym can become repetitive. Healthy living cannot be understated, but how can you keep yourself interested day in and day out?

We’ve put together a list of the top 10 outdoor activities (in no particular order) which you can do to keep yourself in shape; your mind engaged and increase your appreciation for the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Some of these activities are low impact and some are higher, but each and every one is available right now and well within your budget.

10. Park It: The California State Parks, Monterey County Parks and Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District all have beautiful and easily accessible offerings just a few minutes away. From the sandy stretch of Asilomar State Beach and the gentle terrain of Toro Park to the secluded serenity of Frog Pond and the incredible vistas of Garland Regional Park, a healthy and invigorating experience await you on the walk or hike of your choice.

9. On Your Right: The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail offers 29 miles of paved perfection winding its way along the coast from Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove and parts of Pebble Beach to the south. The trail is well maintained and is used by bikers, joggers, walkers, and surreys. The trail offers a number of vistas and points of interest along the way. Bike big and tackle the whole trail or take your time and cruise a portion. Either way some of the best views of the Monterey Peninsula are right there in front of you.

8. Fore!: What’s better than spending some quality time with your family or friends? Everyone knows the Monterey Peninsula has some of the world’s best golf, but you don’t have to be Jack Nicklaus to get outside and chase that little white ball. There are a number of public and municipal courses that offer beginning, group and kids lessons and that are easy on the eyes and on the wallet. Pacific Grove Golf Links, Monterey Pines and Ranch Canada are great for those who are new or returning to the game. Laguna Seca Golf Ranch offers a fantastic practice facility and even world famous Pebble Beach boasts Peter Hay a 9-hole pitch and putt right next to its bigger brother.

7. A League of Their Own: The cities on the Monterey Peninsula offer robust Parks and Recreation programs. While each one is slightly different, most of the programs contain organized leagues for a variety of team and individual sports. Whether softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, volleyball or even bowling, the opportunities to participate in the competition and camaraderie of a league and gain some valuable exercise are priceless. The signup and seasonal information are readily available on the website of your individual city.

6. Doggone Fun: Fido is bored and so are you. Why not take him out for a little quality time and exercise. Anywhere will do and the Monterey Peninsula has a host of pooch-friendly parks, trails and even shopping centers to satisfy event the laziest of “man’s best friends” Carmel is famous for its canine hospitality and Monterey, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks and Marina all have dedicated dog parks. If you and your dog are a bit more adventurous, check out some of the great trails available through the Monterey Regional Parks. Some even allow of leash walking, which I am sure Fido will appreciate!

5. Drop and Give Me 20: The main focus of this information us getting in shape in the outdoors and while the traditional gym membership does not fit that our model, (not to say it is bad) there is a great opportunity to get the benefits of a trainer/class environment that gives you all the benefits of Mother Nature. Spa On the Plaza offers a bi-weekly outdoor fitness class called Fitness for Body and Soul, taught by former world class athlete and Exercise Physiologist, Janel Willette. Fitness for Body and Soul is an innovative out door fitness class that integrates a full cardiovascular, strength and flexibility workout with the beauty and natural terrain of the Monterey Bay.

4. More Water Please: It is the Monterey BAY right? So, what list of outdoor fitness options would be complete without mentioning some of our favorite water sports? Yes the water might be a little chilly, but that’s what wetsuits are for and there are a number of places to pick up a suit and the water toy of your choice right on the water. Adventures by the Sea offers a complete selection of kayaks, paddle boards and instructors if needed. You can take a class or head out with a partner and get what many fitness experts call one of the best cardio vascular workouts there is. Plus, there is a very good chance you will run into some of Monterey Bay’s beloved sea creatures.

3. Paddle Away: Equally as rewarding, but somewhat less strenuous are the paddle boats on Lake El Estero in Monterey. You won’t have to brave the ocean, just some curious Canadian Geese, swans and ducks looking for a snack. The boats are perfect for families and while the kid’s oohh and ahhh at the waterfowl; you can say that you got a good solid workout paddling them around the expansive lake.

2. Go Team: Even if you don’t have kids, volunteering as a coach for a YMCA or Rec league team gets you thinking about your health as the kids run by you. Not only can impart some of your knowledge on the younger generation, but you just might learn a thing or two from them as well. You don’t have to be an expert at the pick and roll or the corner kick, just be there and the kids will love it!

“But what if I am just visiting the area? Then take in a local high school or college game. Studies say that you can burn 250-350 calories watching a live sporting event. The Monterey Peninsula offers a high level of prep and intercollegiate athletics with the California State University, Monterey Bay Otters and the Monterey Peninsula College Lobos leading the way. Let local and get loud.

1.  Walk this Way: Lace up your shoes and open the door. A low to moderate impact workout, walking is the easiest way to get in shape and enjoy the beauty of the Monterey Peninsula. You’ll feel like a new person just by reintroducing yourself to the world around you!

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