Did you know Birmingham is on the top ten list of least healthy cities in America? Alabama may be a prime state for great football, but we are far behind in health and fitness. According to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, The obesity rate in Alabama has climbed 11.2 percent (1990) to 32.4 percent (2013).
Fortunately, your zip code may play a role in influencing your health, but it doesn't DETERMINE your health. In Birmingham, we need to be more active and limit our intake of good ol' deep-fried homestyle cooking. What do you generally do as a get-together with friends? The answer is probably either dinner or a movie. We don't have a ton of fitness-minded options like Austin, TX or Los Angeles, CA, but we do have a few gems. Here is a list of some fun things to do in Birmingham that will also boost your health:
1) Hit the trails at Red Mountain park. Red Mountain trails are 100% free and boast some of the most beautiful views of Birmingham. Look for iron mining relics and tree houses scattered throughout the park. Whether you are hiking with a friend or biking the trails, we promise you won't be disappointed.
2) Rock Climbing. First Avenue Rocks on 1st Avenue offers indoor rock climbing. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, you will find a rock wall that fits your skill level. This is a super fun activity for families or friends that want to try something new.
3) See a show at Iron City. This venue has been landing some seriously cool artists and bands. They were voted the number one music venue in Birmingham and they serve up some of the best food in the city.
4) Hang out at the Cahaba River. You can fish, canoe, swim or even grab an intertube and float down the Cahaba "lazy river" style.
5) Try out a free class. Do you enjoy yoga or pure barre classes? EverySunday at Athleta and LuLuLemom, (both stores located at the Summit Shopping Center) different fitness studios host free classes. In fact, Fitness 51 is Studio of the month for October at Athleta. Come try out a free class (Visit the store websites for class times.) Fitness 51 also offers fitness classes on a regular basis. Grab a few friends and join a weekly class to amp up your fitness!
6) Looking for a fun date idea? Try the Zip Lines at Red Mountain Park. We guarantee you will bond more while gliding from tree to tree than sitting side by side in a movie theater!
7) Visit Oak Mountain State Park. For just $3 you can have access to the best mountain biking trails in Birmingham. If biking isn't your thing, try stand up paddle boarding. You can rent a board for a small fee at the park. You'll strengthen your core and improve your balance, but you'll probably only notice how much fun you're having.
8) Grab dinner at Seasons 52. Birmingham is quickly becoming a foodie town with all of it's new restaurants and food trucks. While southern food is delicious and the cupcake craze is fun, it doesn't do our waist line any favors. Seasons 52 offers vegetarian and vegan options, but they also serve up plenty of meaty entrees! Portions are appropriate rather than overwhelming, and nothing on the menu is over 500 calories. This is the perfect place to dine when your health is a priority.
9) Join a kickball league. Kickball brings back great childhood memories for a lot of us. If you enjoy a little competition and socializing, this is a perfect way to get active and meet new people. Visit gokickball.com to find a team or register a team.
10) Visit Railroad Park. This beautiful 19 acre green space downtown maintains a steady calendar of fun local events. You'll find everything from yoga to food truck festivals. Check their calendar of events here: http://www.railroadpark.org/calendar.php
Share your favorite things to do in the city in the comment box below. Get out and get active, Birmingham!