With a tendency toward unhealthy habits, and a tough reputation earned through a certain television drama, Baltimore is perhaps not a city you would expect to be very favorable to such wholesome pursuits as outdoor exercise. A quick glance around the landmark Inner Harbor on any given morning, however, rebuts those preconceived ideas. Judging from the many joggers pounding the pathways, Baltimore is in fine shape.
Thanks to a handful of initiatives over the past couple of years, visitors can join in with the local fitness movement while taking in the sights. By signing up for one of the following programs, you can get out of your hotel and into an activity more challenging than the usual sightseeing stroll. And, all the better, you’ll feel like you’ve earned that inevitable beer and crab dinner.
Elite Fitness Tours
The mission of Elite Fitness Tours is “to provide the fit traveler an unforgettable workout from a cultural perspective.” Elite’s signature city tour ($30) is a three-mile jogging route that starts at the Inner Harbor, continues through Mount Vernon, and ends with a climb up to Federal Hill Park. (This one is best suited to travelers with an already reasonable level of fitness.) Each time you break to take in a notable attraction, you’ll do a few reps (squats, push ups, or something else) on the spot as your group leader fills in the historical and cultural details – which, as well as being informative, keeps your mind off your burning muscles. Other options include a group exercise class and a yoga session, both at the Inner Harbor, and both costing $30.
For the more adventurous traveler, Urban Evolution offers parkour training, turning the outdoors into a kind of playground. Parkour is focused on movement in both natural and urban environments, that bears some similarity to military obstacle course training. The focus is to move over, under, around, and through obstacles elegantly and with efficiency. It also challenges your fears as you leap over walls, benches, and whatever other objects you find in your path. If you are staying longer and are really committed, Urban Evolution also has a gym where $20 covers a whole day of classes including aerial skills and yoga – although an introduction course ($40) is required for some courses.
Thanks to Baltimore’s Waterfront Partnership, you don’t even have to spend a cent to work out on your next visit. Through its Waterfront Wellness program, the group offers wellness classes, including yoga, boot camp, CrossFit, Zumba, and parkour with Urban Evolution, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, late May through late September. Classes are suitable for all levels of fitness and require only an RSVP through the website to secure your spot.