My favourite parks around the world for exercising outdoors
Travelling can stifle your wellness buzz, disrupting the balance you try so hard to maintain when you're at home. Research has shown working out outside has mental benefits that far outweigh those you get from a gym session. Big cities can feel like a concrete jungle, but the beauty of these inner city parks will surprise you. Perfect for working out, meditating or doing outdoor yoga or Pilates, visit these unexpected gems next time you're in town.
1. Stanley Park - Vancouver
Nestled right near the CBD, Stanley Park blends beautiful waterside views with luscious green forests for the perfect bike, walk or run. You'll love the totem poles, the ocean views and the hill-top cafe for a mid-run snack. I love seeing the squirrels and racoons you find in the park year-round.
2. Lumphini Park - Bangkok
Thailand's capital is hugely populated, so this green oasis is a welcome break from the hustle and bustle. Lumphini Park is one of my favourite places in the city, and houses an array of animals to keep your walk interesting yet safe; from huge monitor lizards to little turtles.
You'll see countless exercise groups during your run or walk; from a running group who uses an air horn to warn oblivious runners of their approach, to the elderly Thais doing Tai Chi in the beautiful white gazebos.
Aprivé Wellness Tip: Take the Sky Train (BTS) to Silom Station and you'll arrive right near the Lumphini Park gates. End your run there, and grab a freshly squeezed orange juice for 30 cents on your way back to the train.
3. East Coast Park - Singapore
When I lived in Singapore, I heard so many people complain about how hemmed-in the city felt, but it doesn't have to. East Coast Park is the perfect place to unwind, hire a bike, go for a swim or take a long walk.
Running along the east coast of the island, you'll see small sandy alcoves, palm trees and blue sky to get your outdoor workout fix. My favourite part of the park was hiring a bike and riding it the full length of the track, stopping to watch the wakeboard park as people tried their best at a new sport.
4. Central Park - New York City
You can't mention inner city parks without including the infamous Central Park, and it's the ideal place to get your outdoor workout fix while in NYC. If you prefer running on a track, head to one of the oval spaces where you can run laps. If you'd rather mix up your run, take one of the paths around the park, and cut in wherever you choose to see the duck ponds and features of the inner city oasis. If you cut in around 36th street, there are park benches and playground equipment you can use to help you stretch.
5. Royal Botanic Gardens - Melbourne
Next to the CBD, just over the river, are the luscious botanical gardens, the perfect mid-day workout spot. Join Melbourne locals and run 'The Tan,' the brown gravel track that wraps around the gardens, or make your own way through the gardens on the multiple tracks and pedestrian roads. Stop in at the café after your run, and enjoy the stunning lake views. You might even see a turtle pop up as you make your way through the park.
If meditation or yoga suits you more, you'll find plenty of grass for your practice by the lake.
Aprivé Wellness Tip: Jump on a tram to get to the Botanic Gardens, and jump off when you see the huge Anzac War Memorial if you're not sure where to go. The Garden gates are next to the memorial.
Whether you're visiting a city on business, or you need an outdoor escape during a holiday, visit these parks for an outdoor workout. They're all luscious escapes from the busyness of the city, and an ideal way to help everyone 'live well.'