The following article is written by Lisa Marie Mercer, a freelance writer, fitness studio owner and book author.
I spent nine years teaching fitness in Boston. When I first arrived from New York City, I was unimpressed by Boston’s meager fitness facilities. In the years that followed, Boston began to rival New York in their number of elite fitness centers per square mile. The upscale Sports Club LA and the cutting-edge Equinox Fitness Center eventually made their debut in Boston, while the Fitcorp facilities received their much-needed modernization. That said, many of Boston’s fitness instructors and recreational athletes prefer to use the city’s uniquely challenging topography as their training tool. Even visitors to Boston find that this walker’s city is a great place to keep in shape without the use of the gym. Here are some examples.
One day, after teacher a class at a tiny corporate fitness facility, trainer Jenny McGovern came in from a run. Jenny had the greatest glutes in the greater Boston area. Since the gym’s Stairmasters were from the Dark Ages, I knew that they were not responsible. One day, she told me her secret. “Who needs the Stairmaster when you have Beacon Hill?”
For those of you who don’t know the Beacon Hill area, it is comprised of a series of long and super steep hills. The homes are both stunning and historic, so while you get a great workout, your mind is distracted by the scenery. Even if you can’t run, the steepness of these hills will give you an unforgettable workout. You can start a warmup in the Public Garden. Go past the swan boats, and enjoy the surrounding floral splendor for which this park is popular. When you’re ready, head for the hills! Corey Road and Summit Avenue
When we moved to Brookline, I was concerned that I was no longer within walking distance of the Beacon Hill area. However, marathon runner Stephen Isaacs showed me something even better. Your first mission, should you accept, is to scale the 515 foot Cory Hill. When you get to the top, you will have the option of continuing up the ultra long and mega-steep Summit Avenue. If you make it to the top of Summit Ave, you will be rewarded with the splendiferous views offered by Outlook Park. Thirsty? No worries! There’s a water fountain! Weston Cross Country Ski Track
When winter arrives, the streets of Boston are covered with ice. Triathlete Janice Martin can’t afford a sprained ankle. That’s why she trains at the Weston Cross Country Ski Center during the winter. She also loves the fact that the track can be reached by taking the Green “D” Train to Riverside Station. You can choose to cross-country ski or snowshoe. Their advanced snow-making capacity means that they can make snow even in the leanest winter seasons. If you work full time, don’t despair. The Weston Ski Track has night skiing! The Cambridge Boat Club
Barbara Hollis likes to tone her upper body, stay in excellent aerobic condition and have fun. That’s why she’s involved with Community Rowing, where you can scull and sweep your way to gorgeous arms and cardiovascular fitness. If you’re feeling competitive, you might even want to sign up for the Head of the Charles Regatta! Call 617.964.2455 for details.
While Boston now has some fantastic fitness facilities, some folks still prefer to “take it outside.” Why not join them?
Lisa Marie Mercer is the author of Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness and 101 Fitness Tips for Women. She lives in Summit County Colorado, where she is the owner of Mountain Sport Pilates and Fitness.