Well, 2020 has been weird. People have gone out less, stuck inside, and maybe packed on a few pounds. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sharp decrease in physical activity across America.
Not a shock really with gyms closed, and gatherings frowned upon. It was only natural many people would cut down on exercise … unless you count pacing from room to room. Baking is also on the rise, and many have eaten their way through the pandemic.
With the number of coronavirus cases growing, physical activity is even important for the physical and mental health benefits it delivers. We all need to step it up.
A new study by RetailMeNot shows only 61.1 percent of adults in Detroit reported were physically active outside of work within the last 30 days. That’s lower than the national average of 73.7 percent.
“Out of all large U.S. cities, Detroit is the least physically active,” the study says.
The good news is we can change those numbers and still be safe.
Huron-Clinton’s Metroparks have a lot of ways to stay active, and some nifty new precautions to keep you COVID-free while you stay active. For example, Metroparks police and park staff perform parking lot counts three times a day to make sure total parking spaces within each park do not exceed 60 percent of their full capacity.
Once you are inside the parks, the spaces are so large that, as long as you use common sense, you can easily social distance.
The parks offer big outdoor areas with hiking trails that burst with terrific scenery to enjoy, room to move around, and a chance to bike. These are great things to enjoy before the winter weather hits.
Kensington has an 8.5-mile paved trail around Kent Lake, and Stony Creek has a 27-mile trail that takes you through the woods and wetlands Michigan boasts about.
If walking through nature is your scene, there is always the rustic hiking trails. You’ll walk with nature and enjoy Michigan’s natural majesty.
If you’re looking to start getting in shape, the rustic trails are a good place to begin. They are shorter, three miles or less.
For bike aficionados, 10 of the 14 Metroparks have biking trails. Some, like Stony Creek, even offer bike rentals.
More rugged terrain is available to mountain bikes at Kensington and Stony Creek.
That is all well and good, but its November … in Michigan. We all know the days even wanting to be out in the sun are coming to a close. That does not mean the days at the park have to come to an end.
The most common winter activity you will find at a Metropark is cross-country skiing.
While I have never skied in any fashion, I do know from personal experience trudging through Midwestern snow will strengthen your leg muscles.
Ten of the parks have cross-country skiing. Hudson Mills Park also has snow shoeing and has rentals for both activities. For groups of 10 or more, patrons need to call ahead to rent the equipment.
Kensington Park also offers ski rentals.
Other ways to stay healthy at Metroparks include ice skating and hockey, for those with better since of balance than I have. St. Clair Park is the place to go for either of these activities.
These are only a sampling of the activities available at the Metroparks. More activities, as well as information, trail maps, and more can be found on the official website here.
Visiting our Metroparks is a great way to get those physically active numbers up and have fun at the same time.