Take your workout outdoors! Turn off the TV or computer, get off the couch, leave the gym and venture out into at any one of the Washington County Parks in the St. Croix River Valley. Outdoor activities abound for all ages, fitness levels, and interests. 

Reap the benefits of exercising outdoors. Being outdoors provides a harder workout - the body is constantly adapting to a changing environment. Other benefits include cleaner air according to the Environmental Protection Agency which found that indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air, and a free daily dose of vitamin D. It is also good for peace of mind. Studies show that compared to exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments is associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy, and positive engagement, along with a decrease in tension, confusion and depression.

Get started at Washington County Parks that offer a variety of outdoor activities, including fitness hikes, outdoor yoga, and stand-up paddle boarding. Guided fitness hikes are free, can be customized, and provide strength and fitness conditioning. They are offered once a month Friday mornings year-round.

Tune in to the sights and sounds of nature in a guided yoga class. Poses and breath work will improve well-being, reduce stress, and increase flexibility. Classes are open to all levels of yoga. Outdoor yoga is 6 to 7 p.m. Thursdays at Lake Elmo Park Reserve through August. Season passes as well as individual classes are available.

Washington County Parks also offers two different stand up paddle boarding (SUP) experiences at Square Lake Park. During Sunset SUP, participants head out into the sunset across the lake for a guided paddle and enjoy the sunlight’s reflections on the lake. Take your yoga practice to the water with the second experience, SUP yoga. Enjoy yoga while breathing in the views of Square Lake, known for water clarity region wide. Registration is required for stand up paddle boarding and yoga in the park.

For more information on fitness programs and other activities, see www.co.washington.mn.us/parks. For questions, call 651-430-8370 or e-mail parks@co.washington.mn.us, and follow Washington County Parks on social media at @WashCountyParks.

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