Six Cheap (Or Free!) Fitness Activities in the MetroMar 01, 2022 11:49AM ● By Linda Persigehl
People will soon shed the layers of winter clothing and begin looking to get more fit. If you desire an alternative to a crowded fitness club, or are bored with your home gym routine, the Omaha metro offers a plethora of fun fitness activities to mix up one’s exercise regime—some of them in the great outdoors—and many of them budget-friendly. Here’s a list of options.
Strike a Yoga Pose
City of Omaha Parks & Recreation Department offers yoga sessions for different skill levels throughout the year. Classes for beginners, seniors, and even toddlers are offered at Common Ground in Elkhorn, A.V. Sorenson Community Center, and other recreational centers in the metro.
Another place to work on one’s flexibility, strength, and balance is at Lauritzen Gardens. They offer a variety of yoga classes indoors through March, then move things outside in warmer months. Cost is $15 per session. Packages are available, and members get a discount.
Hit the Bike Path
For those who find cycling more their speed, the Omaha Pedalers Bicycle Club might be a good fit. The group meets weekly on Thursday mornings for a Keystone Trail ride, and Saturday mornings twice a month for a longer ride from Waterloo to Fremont, as weather allows. They organize easy trail rides, as well as moderate and strenuous treks, to meet every fitness level. It’s a social, recreational club, not a competitive one, so being in top training form is not a priority. Club membership is $20 annually for a single/$26 for a family.
Tee Off on the Links
Many find swinging the irons a great way to spend an afternoon outdoors. Those looking to get more exercise can skip the cart and walk one of Omaha’s eight municipal golf courses—some 9-hole, others 18-hole. Several Omaha city courses offer discounts for kids, students, and seniors, as well as club rental. Westwood offers play as low at $12 per round; Johnny Goodman golf course offers 9 holes for $18 during the week.
Pick Up Pickleball
Those who haven’t tried pickleball yet should make 2022 the year. The fast-paced game, played on a badminton-sized court using a large paddle and plastic wiffle ball, has simple rules, making it easy for beginners. Prairielane Park, Meadowlane Park, and Miller Park offer dedicated outdoor pickleball courts, while Montclair Community Center and Hanscom Indoor Tennis Center offer indoor pickleball courts for a small rental fee. League play is also available.
Take a Wildlife Hike
Nature lovers can consider taking brisk hikes through one of the metro’s natural treasures, Fontenelle Forest, in Bellevue. The Great Marsh Trail, along wetlands rich with aquatic life including beavers and frogs, is a great way to get in 10,000 steps. Winter bird walks, tree identification walks, full moon hikes, and star-gazing hikes for amateur astronomers (for a small additional fee for members) are also good bets for some low-impact cardio. Annual memberships to Fontenelle Forest/Neale Woods are $50/single, or $70/family.
Float Your Boat
With milder temperatures, people can make getting out in local waters in a kayak, canoe, or paddleboat a part of their weekly routine. These sports work the upper body and build core strength while enabling boaters to enjoy great views on The Platte or Elkhorn River. A single-day park pass is $6, or an annual pass is $31, which gives the pass-holder access to all eight state parks in Nebraska. Nearby Mahoney State Park’s Owen Marina rents paddleboats for $10 per half-hour. Platte River Rentals has full-day kayak rentals for $25. Or better yet, one can BYOB (bring your own boat).
—For park permits, visit ngpc-home.ne.gov
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2022 issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.