We love hitting the gym as much as the next fitness fiend, but sometimes exercising indoors just doesn’t cut it. Especially because our nice weather season in Boston is way too short.
So when you just can’t bear to be inside any longer, hit up these outdoor workout spots to get your sweat on, get some fresh air, and probably a sunburn.
Whether you hit the Harvard Stadium stairs with The November Project or on your own, you’re sure to get a killer workout. Tackle the Full Tour (all 37 sections), Tour of 50 (start at section 37 and go to section 13, then back again), or even the Century (cover 100 sections in the shortest time possible). Run up the big steps and down the small ones for the safest, and most effective, route.
Want to do some serious body-weight training but don’t want to be stuck inside? Forget the gym and hit up the Esplanade Parcourse, where you can sweat it out in the great outdoors. In case you don’t know, a parcourse is just a series of obstacles, fixtures, or stations (like pull-up bars) that help you get a solid full-body workout while getting fresh air. The one on the Esplanade is between the BU and Mass. Ave. Bridges and has ample instructions for newbies.
There is no more iconic place to run in Boston than the Charles River Esplanade. Runners pound the pavement on the 23-mile-long path from dawn to dusk, so you’ll never be alone when you log miles along the Charles. Use Boston’s many bridges to create loops of anywhere between three and 20 miles that will take you all the way to Cambridge and back.
If there’s one go-to outdoor rock climbing spot in the Boston area, it’s definitely Quincy Quarries. As the name suggests, this used to be a granite quarry and some of the stones mined here were even used to construct the Bunker Hill Monument. Now it’s a popular spot for local climbers looking to tackle challenging routes just outside the city.
Head out of the city to get your cycle on in one of the most peaceful, scenic spots around. The 10-mile paved Minuteman Bikeway takes you all the way from Alewife in Cambridge, through Arlington and Lexington, before ending in Bedford. That route probably sounds familiar because it’s similar to the one Paul Revere took during his famous ride in 1775 that started the Revolutionary War. Just something to ponder while you’re in the saddle.
There are few places in the city that offer better views of the skyline than East Boston. And one of the most spectacular spots in Eastie is Piers Park. This lovely little green space has a sizeable outdoor gym area where you can work out within sight of the water. The park also hosts outdoor yoga classes and has a community sailing center if you’re looking to expand your routine.
If you have a need for speed, head to Emmanuel College’s Clemente Field in the Back Bay Fens. This track is free and open to the public, so you can do sprints to your heart’s content. Know that the track itself runs a little long (a full lap is more than 400 meters), so make sure you keep track of the distance (yes, we went there).
We’re practically surrounded by water in Boston, but a lot of it isn’t safe for swimming. That’s not a problem when you head a little west of the city to the clean, clear waters of Walden Pond. This gorgeous spot has been a retreat from the hustle and bustle since Henry David Thoreau made it famous nearly two centuries ago. Today, triathletes flock to the pond to prep for upcoming races.
There are plenty of places to hike near Boston, but one of the closest and best is the Middlesex Fells Reservation. After a short drive north on I-93, you’ll feel miles and miles away from the city even though you can still see it from the aptly named Skyline Trail. There are more than 100 miles of trails to tackle, so the Fells is the perfect place to return again and again when you need a nature fix.
We told you how you can run next to the Charles River and workout at the parcourse on its banks, but what about getting out on the river? There are plenty of ways to do just that and work out at the same time. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddle board for a peaceful way to explore the calm waters. Or make like a Kennedy and try your hand at sailing.
It seems like a new outdoor yoga class pops up every day in the summer, but there’s no more quintessentially Boston place to plant your mat than at the Frog Pond in the Common. There are free, hour-long classes offered all season long, so it’s easy for you to practice down dog in one of the most historic places in the city. And in the winter, head to the Frog Pond for another bucket list Boston activity: ice skating in the park. It doesn’t get much better than this.
Another favorite local outdoor workout spot can be found across the Charles in Cambridge. The Magazine Beach Parcourse is simple, but surprisingly effective. Hit it up while on a run along the path next to the river or on its own if it’s a million degrees and running is certain death. Fitt Tip: Bring your bathing suit and cool down in the nearby Magazine Beach Pool after your workout.
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