Local exercise ideas for heading into a new year.
The new year is approaching, and nearly 40% of American adults make New Year’s resolutions, according to a 2022 Statista Global Consumer Survey. Of those adults, nearly half resolved to exercise more. But for people who have never been especially enthusiastic about exercise, just getting the ball rolling and the body moving can feel overwhelming. Oklahoma City has lots of ways to incorporate exercise into your regular routine — here are some of the most creative and convenient options in the metro.
Walking is one of the most effective ways to burn calories and improve your health. Whether it’s alone listening to a podcast or conversing with a friend while carrying coffees, there are many local places and approaches to the regular relaxing walk. The Shoppes at Northpark and Quail Springs Mall have daily mall walkers and are perfect places to head if it’s yucky outside, but strolling in the fresh air at one of the city’s many parks — weather permitting — will make you feel lost in nature. Martin Nature Park and Bluff Creek Park north of Lake Hefner or the Soldier Creek Industrial Park Trails have plenty of paths with beautiful scenes and chances to spot wildlife. The OKC Hot Girl Walk Club on Instagram (@okc_hotgirlwalk) organizes monthly group walks meant to empower women with “kindness, exercise, mental health and friends.” The club frequently walks on Wednesdays and holds giveaways and social hours, and you might even meet a new walking buddy.
Family activities can also be an entertaining opportunity to get moving. Encouraging your kids to be active can help them lead a healthy lifestyle — plus, exercise doesn’t feel like exercise when you’re having fun. OKC has fallen under the pickleball spell and there are courts all over the city. You can play the popular paddle game anywhere from Edmond to Norman, and the Greater Oklahoma City Pickleball Club has a complete list of easy-to-access courts on its website at gopb.club. Scissortail Park recently added several sports options, including courts for pickleball, futsal and basketball, as well as a soccer pitch.
You can also take advantage of the cold with some freezing fun. Lace up for ice skating at The Devon Ice Rink at the Myriad Botanical Gardens until Jan. 29, or go snow tubing during WinterFest at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark until Jan. 1. You’ll have a blast and break a sweat, even with the wind chill.
If you’re not sure what kinds of exercise you’re interested in, try a little bit of everything. Free or low-cost community classes are a great way to give something new a chance in a welcoming learning environment. Dragon Yoga (4516 N. Western Ave.) is a pay-what-you-can studio that offers a variety of classes from beginner yoga to tai chi; used bookstore Bookish (1 NE 14th St.) gives Sunday yoga classes for $10; and the Myriad Gardens holds free yoga sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays outside on the lawn.
For those searching for something more intense, group exercise classes at fitness chains Orangetheory and CycleBar offer their first class free. MetroFit (metrotech.edu/metrofit) is a community outreach program run by Metro Technology Centers and provides a wide range of free in-person and virtual classes. Its lineup of nine activities includes intensive kickboxing and comparably lighter swing dancing. Keep Moving OKC (keepmovingokc.org), a wellness initiative of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, has a comprehensive list of exercise classes, events and groups throughout Oklahoma City, from stair-climbing clubs to cardio dancing lessons.
However you decide to get moving, the most important thing is taking that first step.