July 10, 2014 | by Bucky Mitchell
STAYCATION: Feeling fit
The Trapeze School of Washington is a great place to work some upper-body muscles. (Blade file photo courtesy TSW)

The Trapeze School of Washington is a great place to work some upper-body muscles. (Blade file photo courtesy TSW)

Looking for fun, fit summer activities to do D.C. in summer? Here’s the latest edition of my “staycation” guide for those hot, humid summer days.

1. The Trapeze School of Washington. Located in the heart of the newly gentrified southwest Waterfront/Navy Yard neighborhood, the Trapeze School is a dream come true from anyone looking to take a fun trip back to the circus and get an amazing upper body workout at the same time.

To be honest, I was a bit scared going to the school because I am afraid of heights. Immediately, I was put at ease by the professionalism and knowledge of the staff and instructors. The instructors gave great guidance and support the whole way through my shaking and hesitation of taking the first leap off the platform. Although I did fall, I must say I felt OK knowing the net was there to catch me.

After a few tries, I got the hang of it and started to feel the rush and the adrenaline of flying through the air. I also began to feel the physical work required to complete such a task. With all the climbing, swinging, jumping and propelling through the air, both your legs and upper body get a tremendous workout. So what if you aren’t a fan of the trapeze? No worries! The Trapeze School caters to all of your inner-circus fantasies include juggling, balancing, trampoline and something called silks (dangling from two pieces of fabric).

2. Hains Point (East Potomac Park). Hains Point located at the intersection of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. A staple of D.C. fitsters, this 328-acre island is packed with every summer activity you would want to do. There is so much to do in this park that you might have to come back multiple days to get it all in. From a golf course, to tennis courts, playgrounds, picnic tables and a fantastic public swimming pool, Hains Point has great outdoor summer activities for everyone.

If you’re looking for a new running route, give the Hains Point running trail a go. This running trail is great because it’s surrounded by water and you feel a great sense of calmness and solitude even though you’re running in the heart of downtown D.C.

A lot our gay sports teams practice here and therefore, it’s a great way to share your interest of a particular sport, meet new faces or just check out the eye candy. It’s also a fun spot to watch the plans fly in and out of Reagan National Airport.

3. The National Arboretum. Located on 446 beautiful acres in the northeast quadrant of the city between New York Avenue and Bladensburg Road, you’ll find this golden gem that is all things plants. The Arboretum  boasts nine miles of roadway that allow you to have a great day’s worth of exercise and learn about plants at the same time.

You can hike, bike, walk or tram your way around the grounds. What I like so much about the Arboretum is that there are plants in bloom for every season and generally, there are tours you can purchase that help you learn more about them. The Arboretum also has a very active calendar of events and there’s always something interesting or new to explore on the grounds. For instance, you can take a tram ride through the park to explore Capemyrtle trees in July or you can take a self guided or tram tour of plants from southern China that include ginger, bamboo, banana plants which flourish in the month of August.

4. Sundays in Meridian Hill ParkLocated at 16th Street and Florida Avenue N.W., you might thinking of passing the park because of its massive wall along 16th Street, but believe me you will want to go inside and see all of the activity that happens at Meridian Hill Park, especially on Sundays.

Whether you’re going to take in the neo-classically designed architecture or the beautiful views from the promenade to the fountain, there is something for everyone in the park.

Some of my favorites activities include a free yoga class this offered to the public every Sunday morning. Not only are the yoga instructors fantastic, but you get the advantage of being outside taking in the beauty of the park and the fresh air. There’s also a great running path that runs the perimeter of the promenade, down the steps and back up along the fountains. Believe me; it’s much harder than it looks! And if you just want to relax and doing something fun, you can try slacklining (like doing the tightrope) between the trees or listen to the great drum band.

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