Fitness Al Fresco

Catch the outdoor fitness craze.


Do you prefer sweating on an elliptical in a crowded gym or taking a brisk spring walk outside? More and more, parks departments, public gardens, and community organizations are offering outdoor fitness opportunities as the weather warms—from yoga to paddle boarding, calisthenics to tai chi. 

Chris Frelke, Director of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities in Richmond, notes that city parks are seeing high levels of use as people come to appreciate the power of nature and find ways to enhance their well-being, a trend that park systems are seeing nationwide. “We have seen a renewed appreciation and activity of outdoor gems, from hiking along the river to  playing pickleball,” he notes, adding his favorite Walt Whitman quote: “Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air.” 

If breathing fresh air and taking in the sites and sounds of nature are appealing—while burning calories to boot—check out these outdoor fitness opportunities throughout Virginia.  

Fairfax: Traverse the Gerry Connolly Cross Country Trail that connects one end of Fairfax County to the other along 40 miles. FairfaxCounty.Gov/Parks

Roanoke: Biking, hiking, caving, and paddling through Roanoke’s Parks & Rec Department with sites all over Southwest Virginia. PlayRoanoke.com

Richmond: Tai chi and various yoga classes at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden are held outside in the garden, weather permitting. LewisGinter.org 

Courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

fitness al fresco

Courtesy of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Staunton: Fitness Park at Staunton River State Park includes a trail with 10 fitness stations like ladders and stump steps, similar to an agility course. DCR.Virginia.Gov/State-Parks 

Virginia Beach: Hillier Ignite Fitness Park, modeled after a West Coast fitness park, features equipment for strength-training, plus bars, rope climbers, and more. VaBeach.com

Winchester: Outdoor trails for running, walking, and biking at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, where leashed dogs are welcome to tag along. TheMSV.org 

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum