Outdoor Fun and Fitness in the Rochester Area

August 2014 Bloomer Park Stairs Sonya Julie

The Stairs at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills – Photo by Sonya Julie

The Great Outdoors 

Summer is officially here so grab your gear and head outdoors for a great workout. Exercising outside can increase your motivation and make your workouts more interesting. Research shows spending time outdoors reduces stress and the fresh air releases serotonin in the brain which can put you in a fantastic mood. The scenery can help exercisers from getting bored and outdoor workouts offer more of a full-body workout that can burn more calories. The Rochester area has lots of exercise options for people of all ages and abilities.

Kicking It with Cardio

Looking for a good cardio workout? Head to Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills and run the stairs. With approximately 200 steps, you can start off slow and work your way up (no pun intended). Go up and down once at a normal pace, then speed it up, try lunges, and take every other step. There are plenty of variations of staircase workouts, just do a quick internet search for some ideas. You can also walk the trails, play volleyball or partake in a game of cricket.  Grab your mountain bike for the trails or a racing bike for the velodrome, the only bicycle racing of its kind in North America.

Rochester Residents head to downtown Rochester to visit the City of Rochester Municipal Park and enjoy a game of tennis on the lighted courts or some sand volleyball. Meander through the park leisurely or connect to the Paint Creek Trail from here for running, hiking and biking. The downtown area also offers access to the Clinton River Trail and the Macomb Orchard Trail systems as well.

Try Something New

Kayaking at Oakland Township's Lost Lake

Kayaking at Oakland Township’s Lost Lake Nature Park – Photo Courtesy of Oakland Township

Oakland Township has fitness and wellness programs that get people outdoors for healthy fun. These include Tai Chi In The Park (at Bear Creek Nature Park), Yoga On The Lake (at Lost Lake Nature Park), Half Marathon Training (at Paint Creek Cider Mill), and an Outdoor Boot Camp (at Bear Creek Nature Park). In addition to these healthy programs they also offer Outdoor Adventure Programs that include Standup Paddleboarding, Kayak and Nature Tours, Kayak Lessons, Midnight Paddles, and Kayak rentals at Lost Lake Nature Park.

Making a Splash

Hit the beach at Thelma G. Spencer Park in Rochester Hills at the 38-acre lifeguarded lake. Enjoy shelters, picnic areas, play structures, volleyball, horseshoe pits, tennis, and nature paths while visiting or try your hand at fishing from the accessible pier. The beach is available from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Membership has its advantages at The Heart of The Hills Swim Club where swim lessons are available. Water aerobics classes are another option here which are an excellent way to get fit. This form of water exercise can increase cardiovascular health, joint health, and upper and lower body strength. This cardio workout is a great way to ease into exercising, especially if you are looking for a low-impact aerobic activity. They offer a 45 minute class that alternates resistance work with intervals of high intensity aerobic training. This class is suitable for most fitness levels. Members can also enjoy sand volleyball, basketball, and tennis.

The Swimming Pool at Heart Of The Hills in Rochester - Photo Courtesy of Heart Of The Hills

The Swimming Pool at Heart Of The Hills in Rochester – Photo Courtesy of Heart Of The Hills

A Social Affair

For those that find motivation in numbers, try a MeetUp and join like-minded people. Meet with the Outdoor Group Fitness Training folks at Stoney Creek Park or Bloomer Park for group fitness with a certified group fitness instructor. Early morning and evening times are popular with this energetic group. Or try the Rochester Walkers’ Group and meet new people and explore places like Municipal Park, Paint Creek Trail, Dinosaur Hill and the Clinton River Trail.

Where the Dinosaurs Roam

Kids will love visiting Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve where they can go on field trips, check out the portable planetarium, earn scout badges, go on safaris, enjoy campfires, make art, and more. Playing outdoors is great for all ages and the park is home to many programs that encourage community involvement, such as getting active in the Wabash Park Community Garden or learning more about the Greater Rochester Bicycle Coalition to make greater Rochester a friendlier place for bicycles and pedestrians.

Before You Go

With any activity, always check the weather ahead of time, wear loose light clothing, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, and watch out for too much sun. Some venues are for members only and some parks may require fees so check first before heading out.

No matter your fitness level, age, interests, or ability – there is something fun for you in the Rochester area – share your favorite place to work up a sweat in the comments below.


About Sonya Julie

Sonya Julie is a Freelance Writer and Life Coach. She Writes about Health & Healing, Fitness & Yoga, Food & Paleo, as well as Travel & Adventure, and Community. Visit Sonya's Website, Sonya Julie Exploring Life.


  1. I like biking around Rochester Hills. So many bike paths to choose from. For a challenge, I go to the trails of Bloomer Park with my mountain bike.

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