Wellness Wednesday: Get active!

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2022 is only five days old, but it’s a good time to assess early progress on your New Year’s resolutions. Research shows that setting small and measurable goals leads to higher success rates among participants who resolve to change some aspect of their behavior, accomplish a personal objective, or otherwise focus on self-improvement. If you aim to get more active this year, this could mean increasing time spent walking, in the fitness center, or dancing by five or 10 minutes each week until you reach your target.

With more than 55 public parks, 10 community centers, and 8 miles of paved greenways and numerous natural surface trails, Asheville Parks & Recreation‘s many free and low-cost options can help you meet this goal. Download the new AVL Rec app for iPhone, search programs online, or browse our programming guide for latest opportunities and updates.

January is the perfect time to lay your foundation for the Asheville Fit 50, a free community-wide challenge (with prizes!) to run, walk, or roll 50 miles between February 1-April 1. Keep an eye on our website, Facebook page, and Instagram feed for more details later this month.


Older Adults and Retirees

Harvest House has Zumba and slimnastics exercise classes that are perfect for beginners and seasoned gym goers. International folk dancing, tap dancing, and contemporary line dancing classes for all experience levels are also offered each week.

man stretching in seated positionThe Senior Opportunity Center‘s weekly active living classes include chair yoga, gentle floor yoga, Zumba, and Power Hour, an upbeat and low-impact program that emphasizes variety. If group exercise isn’t for you, workout at your own convenience in the Center‘s B.A.L.L. (Be Active Live Longer) area with a treadmill, weights, and stationary bike.

The Asheville Mall Walking Club walks, talks, and window shops on Friday mornings from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Just meet outside Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Stephens-Lee and Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Centers also offer gentle fitness and Zumba classes for seniors.

For a full list of programs for older adults, click here. (All exercise, fitness, and active living opportunities listed above are FREE.)

For Harvest House’s weekly schedule including exercise, arts, crafts, games, and clubs, click here.


Adults and Teens

fitness room at stephens lee community centerIf you plan to integrate free weights, exercise machines, and cardio equipment into your wellness goals, fitness center memberships at Stephens-Lee and Linwood Crump Shiloh Community Centers are a great value because they’re currently free for Asheville residents! Just sign up online or stop by the front desk of either center for a keychain fob. Whether visiting solo or with friends, the indoor fitness rooms mean weather won’t prevent a regular daily or weekly routine. (Visitors under 17 years-old must be accompanied by an adult.)

Upcoming drop-in sports include volleyball, basketball, pickleball, and blacklight glow dodgeball. On top of honing your skills and staying active, you may meet new friends and join a sports league later in the year. Feeling social, but not into sports? Bring back old school dances you remember and mix in some new ones with Old School Line Dancing Thursday nights at Stephens-Lee Community Center.

Tempie Avery Montford Community Center offers a climbing wall and classes throughout the year for beginner to intermediate climbers. Yoga, aerobics, paddling, and hiking programs begin in March at multiple locations. 

For a full list of programs for adults, click here.

For a full list of programs for teens, click here.


Toddlers and Kids

child on climbing wallCrawling, walking, learning to run and jump, and other active movement supports the critical physical, socio-emotional, sensory, cognitive, and communication development of children. Community centers throughout the city have after school programming, climbing and paddling camps, open gym times, and more.

For a full list of programs for toddlers and kids, click here.



Volunteer Opportunities

Another fun way to stay active is by volunteering! Neighborhood cleanups, youth sports league coaching, and helping spread the word for upcoming programs and community events as part of our street team are some options. Regularly scheduled opportunities for individuals, organizations, and groups of friends include Work and Learn Days at Dr. George Washington Carver Edible Park and animal meal prep, habitat care, and special events at the WNC Nature Center. Email parks@ashevillenc.gov for more info.


Check back on January 12 for ways to try something new, learn a new skill or hobby, and soak up culture in 2022. In the meantime, download the new AVL Rec app for iPhone.

If you missed the previous article in this series on ways to meet new people and spend more time with friends and family, check it out on our blog.