Take that New Year’s Resolution Outdoors

It’s the middle of January, which means most of the people that had invaded the gym to get after that New Year’s resolution have either stuck to it or given up by now.

(Full confession: TampaSportFitness MIGHT have played a role there. Certain staff members like to run through gyms in early January with bags of Chick-fil-A. You know, to test the resolve of the newly converted.)

For those of you still going at it, congratulations and keep it up. And for those that have stumbled, we’d like to suggest a change of scenery.

Since we seem to be the only state in the union not digging itself out of snow at the moment, TampaSportFitness thought it was important to highlight some form of outdoor activities. After all, what’s the point in living in a place where January feels like late summer/early fall if you can’t rub it in the faces of everyone living above Atlanta?

And since we’re talking outdoors, we want to highlight a place that everybody thinks they know about but probably don’t: Al Lopez Park.

Located off Himes Avenue, just across the street from Raymond James Stadium and next door to Jesuit High School, the park is well-known by locals for its playgrounds and rented patios. Named for Tampa native and Baseball Hall of Famer Al Lopez, the park stays open from sunrise to sunset and offers some of the most numerous park amenities in Hillsborough County, including dog parks and fishing ponds.

During a recent visit, however, TampaSportsFitness learned it has a great deal more to offer fitness enthusiasts.

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The Cordelia B. Hunt Community Center stands near the park entrance and offers a variety of very inexpensive (as low as $2 a session!) fitness classes within its walls. Funny thing is, despite its 11,000-square foot size, a multi-purpose room, kitchen, computer lab, and fitness center, even the regular path runners and playground patrons don’t know about the numerous classes and opportunities offered within the building, even with the advertisements on the billboard in front of it.

“Some have no idea,” James, who teaches a martial arts weapons class on Wednesday nights, said. “Some have told me they thought the building was a landmark.”

In addition to the martial arts weapons classes, the center also currently features tae kwan do for multiple skill and age levels, Zumba, tai chi, and yoga. There have also been fitness boot camps and dance classes hosted at the park in the past.

For anyone looking to enjoy some community fitness activities on a tight budget, the park is a revelation. $15 buys an annual membership for a single person at the Center, granting access to everything within the building. The park also hosts a variety of sporting events. The Art Run 5K will take place there on January 11, 2014, followed by the Tampa Dash 5K and the Energy for Like walk in March.

So how about it, readers? Anyone feel like taking a class or two?

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