Why stay inside? Fitness heads to the parks

Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission's "SUP Fitness" uses intervals of Barre, Pilates and yoga to build core stability, develop upper-body strength, and lift and tone the lower body, performed on a stand-up paddleboard.

If you're like me, you spend enough time indoors at work, especially during the glorious Lowcountry springtime. So when it comes to working out, why would anybody want to spend another second indoors?

Fortunately, there are even more organized options to help you get out and get fit this spring.

In the past year, the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission has turned a new focus on providing affordable fitness classes at its array of parks and will kick off its latest line-up of spring and summer programs starting Thursday.

"We want to encourage people to embrace the outdoors with their workouts," says CCPRC Fitness and Wellness Program Manager Allison Foster. "We're encouraging people to connect with nature and recharge their energy. These programs help people to break out of ruts and try something new."

The first "Yogathon" class will be 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday at Folly Beach County Park. Another class will be at 9:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday at Palmetto Islands County Park in Mount Pleasant.

The cost is $5 for county residents and is open to anyone ages 16 and up. Classes will rotate to other county parks, as well, including Wannamaker in North Charleston, James Island and Isle of Palms.

Other fitness classes will include the following:

"Walk and Restore" will be a 55-minute class focused on walking the trails at James Island County Park with breaks to stretch and relax.

"Short Circuit" is designed to give participants a full-body, calorie-burning workout completed during their lunch break.

"SUP Fitness" uses intervals of Barre, Pilates and yoga to build core stability, develop upper-body strength, and lift and tone the lower body, performed on a stand-up paddleboard. The board, paddles and personal flotation devices are provided.

"H20 Moves" is a class that will give participants a full-body workout while emphasizing proper form and stretching. It is ideal for anyone managing pain or weight-related conditions.

"HIIT The Water" is a high-intensity interval training course that takes place in the water. It offers cross-training options for intermediate to advanced athletes.

Meanwhile, the commission plans to showcase its initiative with a Be Fit, Charleston! festival on June 7 at Old Towne Creek County Park near Charles Towne Landing State Park.

www.ccprc.com (go to "activities," then "fitness classes")

The commission staff aren't the only folks thinking along these lines.

Local yoga instructors Deborah Kaufman, Hilary Johnson and Emily Shoemaker created OM Outdoors to offer outdoor yoga on a regular basis and at a relatively affordable $5 per class. They will rotate as teachers.

The classes are held 5:45-6:45 p.m. Wednesdays at Cannon Park, 131 Rutledge Ave., and 10-11 a.m. Saturdays near the big fountain at Hampton Park.


My love of running around outside in the spring may have to do, in part, to one of my favorite school activities this time of year: field day.

Now, an event planner and a local charity are tapping into that positive, outdoor fitness experience to raise awareness for childhood cancers and money for research on neuroblastoma.

The Chase Challenge, to be held 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Wannamaker County Park in North Charleston, will combine teams of one adult and one child in a field day contest, featuring events such as the three-legged race, long jump, balloon toss and 40-yard dash.

"One of my best memories of fourth and fifth grades is competing in something like this with my dad," says Toy, the mastermind behind other local events such as Charleston's first zombie run, rUNdead. "Why not make an event that benefits kids two times. Participants get the experience and learn about the kids they are helping."

The Chase Challenge is geared for children ages 5 to 14, plus an adult teammate. Teams will be divided into age brackets, including ages 5-7, 8-11 and 12-14, and male and female based on the child team member. Children under 5 can participate in an Easter egg hunt plus other activities and kid-friendly events.

Registration for one team (adult/child) is $25. Event sponsorships are also available at a booth in the Vendor Village. Admission to Wannamaker County Park is $1 per person for ages 2 and up.

For $100, individuals can sponsor four low-income children who will be paired up with an adult, including local firefighters and police officers.

Chase After a Cure was started in 2009 by Summerville resident Whitney Ringler and her family after her son, Chase, was given a 30 percent chance of survival after being diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. The charity funds childhood cancer research at the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital.


In its 11th year, the RiverDogs Run Forrest Run 5K on Saturday afternoon offers runners who love baseball a chance to combine their passions with a run that has perhaps the most unique finish line in the Lowcountry: home plate, complete with cheers from players and Charlie, the RiverDog mascot.

The $30 registration fee (early registration online ends Thursday) includes a ticket to the RiverDogs game with the Rome Braves, along with post-race food from Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., soft drinks and beer. The run starts at 4 p.m. and the game at 6:05 p.m.

Proceeds from the run benefit MUSC's Storm Eye Institute. Last year's race had 654 finishers.


Most wouldn't associate the Sons of Confederate Veterans with cross-country running, though there was a lot of that taking place on both sides during the American Civil War.

But for the third year, SCV will hold the Heritage Run, a 5K cross-country run and kids run at Trophy Lakes on Johns Island. The event will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday.

The cost is $35 for the 5K and $10 for the kids run. Proceeds from the 5K benefit The Fisher House, which houses families of wounded veterans undergoing treatment. Money raised from the kids run benefits the Charles Webb Center.

Last year's 5K had 40 finishers.


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