Get your fitness on with no strings attached
Roanoke resident Kemper Fant just ended a 25-year relationship. It’s not that he was unhappy; he just knew there was something easier, something better. That something? Roanoke Parks and Recreation. We talked to Kemper about switching his fitness routine from the traditional gym (something he’d been doing for a quarter of a century) to the free facilities PLAY Roanoke offers. Check it out:
Tell us about your decision to move away from the traditional gym setting and onto the trails and greenways.
“I’d gotten tired of the gym scene and all of the negative aspects about it. I was annoyed with people talking on their cellphones while blocking machines and some of the big weight lifters’ behavior. I just got really tired of it and stopped going. I’ve found that if you want to do regular weight lifting and strength training, you don’t need a gym. You can do that with probably $150-$200 worth of equipment at your home. And there’s also even a circuit course on the greenway over at Vic Thomas Park, so if you really wanted to investigate ways to do upper body and core workouts while you’re outside in a park, that’s a good option right there. The emphasis for me is on things that don’t require a lot of equipment, like running, mountain biking, and yoga. I don’t need a gym for those activities, just the trails and greenways. I also wanted to make sure that my fitness routine was portable and simple. I do push-ups and pull-ups, which are really easy to do at home, and I have a small set of dumbbells and a 50-pound bar. That’s it!”
What about in the winter? Most people don’t want to get out when it’s cold!
“I really don’t find it to be much of a problem in the winter because I’m working to stay warm when I’m running, walking, or biking on the greenways or trails. It doesn’t take much to keep warm. Wind is probably the biggest issue, and you can get clothing for that. I will say that winter is when it’s helpful to have a buddy. If you’ve scheduled a walk, run, or bike ride with somebody, you’re going to show up in the most trying of circumstances. It’s easier to call it off if it’s just you. Also, being active outside in the winter exposes you to fewer germs, and the fresh air gives you an immunity boost!”
What is your biggest takeaway from leaving the gym behind and embracing public amenities?
“I think the social aspect of working out and keeping an exercise regimen is one of the most important things, and that’s easy enough, in fact easier, to do outside of a gym. Several groups around provide motivation and camaraderie. I know that Fleet Feet has their No Boundaries program; Run About Sports has group runs; there are bike shops in the area that have group bike rides. If you tie fitness to a social activity, it helps to get you out there. Just being around people helps your dedication to fitness. The social aspect keeps you engaged and on track more than just running on a treadmill.”
There you have it–while gym memberships can be nice, they’re not necessary to a successful fitness routine. Our parks, trails, and greenways offer free fitness opportunities and are open all year round! Give it a try and let us know what you think! And if you’re hankering for the social atmosphere, you can take Kemper’s advice and look local groups or check out some of PLAY Roanoke’s group fitness options.