Exercise in Baltimore, MD
Druid Hill Park has been an outdoor exercise destination for Baltimoreans from all walks of life since the 1860s. The park offers a variety of open lawns, gentle hills, woodlands and water and multiple biking and jogging trails, but the most popular draw for walkers, joggers and bikers is a scenic 1.5-mile loop around the reservoir. The reservoir path also features workout stations with gym staples like elliptical and rowing machines and leg presses. Other exercise options in Druid Hill Park include tennis courts on the east side and an impressive 18-hole course for disc golf. Note that, for safety's sake, it's best to explore the park during daylight hours.
Earth Treks Climbing Center in Timonium is one of the largest climbing gyms in the country, offering climbs for every age and ability level. Three national climbing championships have been hosted here, and routes are set daily by one of the nation's leading competitive climbers. Visitors can pay by the day ($18, plus $11 to rent shoes, harness and related equipment) or purchase monthly or annual all-access memberships. Don't worry if you've never climbed before: Earth Treks teaches over 20,000 new climbers each year. There's also a kids' program, with classes, summer camps, and a private climbing area for birthday parties. There are other Earth Treks locations in Columbia and Rockville.
The Loch Raven Reservoir is one of the most beautiful natural locales in the Baltimore area and has long been a favorite escape from city life. Mountain bikers and runners flock to the area for its many scenic trails, and there's also a skeet shooting range, disc golf course, horseback riding, fishing and boating. Every weekend, a three-mile stretch of Loch Raven Drive (between Providence Road and Morgan Mill Road) is closed to traffic and transforms into a running, biking and roller-blading trail for thousands of weekend athletes looking to commune with nature. There are also more than twenty miles of off-road trails throughout the watershed area. Whatever your sport, be sure to treat the actual reservoir with respect -- it supplies all of Baltimore's drinking water.
Charm City Yoga was named Best Yoga Studio in Baltimore by the City Paper for six years in a row. What else do you need to know? With five locations throughout the area (Federal Hill, Fells Point, Midtown, Towson and Severna Park) and yoga offerings in multiple styles and at multiple levels, you're sure to find the perfect class. Hot Vinyasa is Charm City's signature style, but classes range from Gentle Yoga and Restorative Yoga to more challenging styles like Astanga. Frequent "community classes" are only $6. Classes are popular and fill up quickly, but you can pre-register online for all except community classes.
Forget those endless hours on the treadmill or elliptical machine -- CrossFit is the cure for your boring workout. CrossFit mixes weightlifting, cardio and gymnastics into a high-intensity workout that's always new. Although it can be strenuous (and finish times are written on a board for all to see!), the CrossFit approach is adaptable to all ages and ability levels because the workout intensity and lifting load are modified to fit each person's condition. Push511, in the heart of Brewers Hill, does CrossFit right. They promise "No Jerks, No Whining" -- instead, just a group of friendly people getting a great low-tech workout.