Updated May 15, 2019
By: Rebecca Cofiño/ Blogger
Confession time: I used to be a gym rat.
I loved working out and made sure I got my money’s worth out of my gym membership by spending two to three hours there every day. Ah, life before kids.
I don’t have that kind of time to devote to fitness anymore, nor am I inclined to spend my small pockets of freedom trapped indoors, listening to the pop songs while running in place. I’ve found something much better; Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove.
This waterfront park spans 29 acres and has a multitude of activities for every age and level of fitness.
My favorite part of Kennedy Park has to be its jogging trail. Step on it and you’re immediately met with a soft bouncy cushion. It takes one by surprise because it looks just like bark, but it is actually recycled rubber tires that have been shredded and mashed into a joint-friendly trail.
People with arthritis or knee injuries can use this trail for a great workout with a gentle impact. Even if you don’t have any joint problems, you’ll enjoy the soft, springy surface at the same time you prevent future strains. The scenery loops around the park, so you’ll take in lush greenery, meadows of grass and the mangrove-lined waterfront. So much better than watching that little red dot on the treadmill blink and blink and blink….
But what about resistance training? Surely you need a gym for that?
Kennedy Park has that one covered with two great options. The first is an outdoor gym which is completely free and open to the public. It consists of a group of machines that look very similar to the ones you find in gyms. Rather than using weights to build strength, these machines use your own body mass as resistance.
You can also stop along the trail at the Vita Course stations. These stations are marked by instructional signs and a small piece of equipment. Most stations use a callisthenic-type approach. If you complete the entire loop, you will have an excellent strength and cardio workout.
But what about group exercise?
Fitness classes are very popular because they make working out fun and keep motivation high. Kennedy Park offers free yoga classes, baby boot camp classes and traditional boot camp classes throughout the week. You can also gather friends for a game of beach volleyball on one their two courts or grab a football or Frisbee and take to the grass.
But what about daycare?
Kennedy Park does not provide daycare, but they have three playgrounds and lots of grass for kids to play. If you bring a friend or spouse, you can take turns watching the little ones while you whittle your waistlines.
Kennedy Park is a veritable free, green gym available to everyone in Coconut Grove. The only thing you might miss from your old gym is the air conditioning, but just wait until October when working out outdoors is the only place to be.
Kennedy Park is located at 2400 South Bayshore Drive