Ten ways to work out for free, or almost free. (Have more ideas? Add them in the comments section, below.)
1. The old-school fitness trail
They’re also called parcourses and campgrounds used to have them, back in the 70s and 80s — the hiking/running trail marked by stations with equipment for doing pushups, pull ups and crunches. Well, a few still exist and they provide a great workout. There’s one in the wooded area behind the Forest Service, located at 200 Weaver Blvd., Asheville. The fitness course is set up between the field office and the UNCA parking lot, accessed from Nantahala St.
2. Hula hoop
Every Tuesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. (through September) the Asheville Community Hoop Jam is held in Pritchard Park. Bring your own hoop or borrow one at the hoop jam; work out with other hoop-crazy folks to tunes provided by a DJ. Read more about it here.
3. Free yoga
Asheville Community Yoga (8 Brookdale Rd., Asheville) says its mission is to “serve the community through the love offering of yoga classes, lectures, workshops and related services with the intention that through these practices we will come together in love and attain freedom in this life.” Classes include men’s yoga, beginner’s yoga, Yinyasa flow and back care. Find a schedule here.
4. Move more
Have you seen the signs around downtown Asheville? The Eat Smart Move More N.C. coallition developed walking trails and maps as part of its mission. Follow the signs for short loops that you can complete on a lunch break, or go here for downloadable maps to area trails includine Riverside Cemetery, Urban Trail, Lake Louise, UNCA’s Botanical Gardens, Kimberly Ave., Beaver Lake & Bird Sanctuary and more.
Buncombe County has five public pool locations, including Cane Creek, Erwin, Hominy Valley, North Buncombe and Owen. “Passes are available for purchase at all pools and at the Administrative office of Parks, Greenways and Recreation Services at 59 Woodfin Place in Asheville. A 10 visit pass is $20 and a 25 visit pass is $40.” That’s $2 or less per swim.
6. Tennis, anyone?
Okay, if you’re a pro you might not want to practice your swing or serve on the courts of a public park. But if you’re just looking to burn a few calories and have a little fun, head to one of a number of parks. Choctaw Street Park, Kenilworth Park, Livingston Street Park, Malvern Hills Park, Montford Park, Murphy-Oakley Park, Shiloh Park, Weaver Park and West Asheville Park are all on that list.
7. Think Jane Fonda.
A free aerobics class is held Mondays and Wednesdays at 2 p.m. at the Kennilworth Presbyterian Church in Asheville. Info at 252-8872.
8. Climb to new heights
The Montford Community Center (34 Pearson Dr., Asheville) is home to the indoor climbing wall. Hours are Monday and Wednesday, 6-9 p.m., and Saturdays from noon-3 p.m. Info: 253-3714.
9. Run like the wind
Running is pretty much free (invest in good shoes, but other than that you can do it anywhere, anytime). Start a running program or train for a race by joining a group, such as the Asheville Track Club. Regular group runs are held most days, at a variety of times and ability levels. Membership is $15 annually ($5 for students, $20 for a family).
10. Folk yeah!
It might be a little hokey, but it’s also a lot of fun. And, for those with little or no prior dance experience, the simple and repetitive steps of many world folk dances are are great starting point. Free international folk dance class is held every Tuesday, 7:30 p.m at Harvest House, 205 Kenilworth Rd., Asheville. Info: Lee or Gail Hyde, 253-4933.