Columnist Sierra Gladfelter offers advice on enjoying the outdoors while getting a workout.
Just because Temple is in an urban area, doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of places to exercise outside of the campus gym. Philadelphia boasts more than 300 miles of bike, running and rollerblading paths in and around the city.
The Schuylkill River Bike Trail runs along the river, near Boathouse Row, and into the 5,600 acres of natural land in Fairmount Park.
For some weekend exercise, peddle past the boat houses, and take a ride up to Wissahickon Park.
If you’re without a bike, the Breakaway Bike Shed next to Lloyd Hall on Boathouse Row rents bicycles for $10 an hour or $30 for the day.
Head past Falls Bridge, continue on Kelly Drive for a little less than a mile, and make a sharp left onto Ridge Avenue. Cross over Ridge to the right, and take the bike path down into the Wissahickon Valley. Here, the trail follows an old carriage road, which is closed to motor vehicles.
Rolling hills carry you over stone bridges, and you can lock your bike and take a hike up the sides of the gorge on an extensive system of hiking, horse-back riding and mountain biking trails. If you’d rather run, park your bike, and go for a jog on the carriage roads without worrying about traffic.
For an alternative bike route, stay on the main bike path, and follow signs for the Schuylkill River Trail. This will be the same path from Boathouse Row and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and you can follow it all the way up to Valley Forge. Make a day of it, and bike the 44-mile round-trip loop back to the art museum, stopping to picnic at Valley Forge’s beautiful historical park.
If you’re feeling motivated to go on a longer jog or you’re sick of city sidewalks and jogging in circles on the indoor track, take an 8-mile run, making a loop from the steps of the Art Museum. Heading northwest on Kelly Drive, cross Falls Bridge and return on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
If you get out for a run in October, you won’t have to worry about cars on the way back. The city closes Martin Luther King Jr. Drive to traffic weekends, April through October.
Don’t limit yourself to an indoor gym when Philly’s green space is just a short run away. There are plenty of places close to Temple, where you can get a workout while enjoying the fall weather and autumn colors.
Sierra Gladfelter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.