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Find time in your busy life to keep fit

Central Virginia offers many outdoor options to keep physically active
Central Virginia offers many outdoor options to keep physically active
Sandy Wallace

It doesn't take a lot of time or energy to keep fit. The trail system in Lynchburg makes it easy to enjoy being outdoors and keep active at the same time. Here are some of the ways that I maintain a healthy and active lifestyle while working full time, writing part time, and spending time with my husband, kids, and grandkids.

Run, hike or bike outdoors to stay active and keep in shape
Sandy Wallace

I enjoy walking more than any other activity. My favorite place to walk is on the Blackwater Creek Bikeway. The bikeway is three miles long and connects to several other trails, all of which are part of the James River Heritage Trail system. The path is shaded with trees and there are trails from the bikeway that go down through the woods to the Blackwater Creek. My favorite part of the bikeway is at the Ed Page Entrance, off Langhorne Road, where the Awareness Garden is located. I walk on the bikeway almost every week day at lunch or after work. Walking is a great way to get exercise and enjoy nature.

Riding bikes was so much fun when I was a kid. We did tricks like riding with no hands, went anywhere we wanted to go, and never seemed to get tired. Riding a bike is a great workout for your legs and builds endurance. When I'm riding a bike, it brings back memories of the fun times I shared with my brothers years ago. The feeling of the air rushing past my face makes me feel free and easy. My favorite place to ride bikes is on the RiverWalk Trail at Percival's Island in downtown Lynchburg. You can see the James River from the bridge to the island and again from the bridge that crosses from Lynchburg into Amherst County. It's about a five mile round trip from the parking lot at Percival's to the Amherst County end and back. I also love riding bikes at the beach. My favorite beach ride is the Boardwalk at Virginia Beach. The Boardwalk is about three miles long, flat, and paved and is a favorite of visitors to Virginia Beach.

You don't have to travel far to get to some of the best hiking trails on the East Coast. The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Katahdin, Maine. Virginia is home to the most miles of the Trail, about 550. Head to the Peaks of Otter and hike Sharp Top Mountain or choose your favorite hike on the AT.

Join the Lynchburg Road Runners Club and try your hand at running. Lynchburg was named Outstanding Runner Friendly Community of 2011 by the Road Runners Club of America. The running community here in Lynchburg is a tight-knit group that's second to none. With over 20 annual running events and 23 miles of public trails, it's easy to see why Lynchburg was given this award. Join the many runners who are gearing up for the Lynchburg Half Marathon on Aug. 9 and the 41st annual Virginia 10 Miler on Sept. 27 and hit the trails.

If your work hours make it difficult to enjoy outdoor activities, try joining a gym. Planet Fitness is a good choice for me because it's located between work and home and is open 24 hours a day during the week. Although I wasn't sure how well I'd like using a gym, it's great to have so many choices of equipment. I like the bikes, ellipticals, and treadmill the best. I've also been trying some of the weight machines to build strength in my arms.

I learned from my Mom's example that you can stay young by staying active. In addition to walking, biking and exercising, I enjoy working in the garden and keeping up with my grandkids. We live near the Appalachian Trail and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Both offer opportunities to be outdoors and to be active. I plan to stay active for as long as I'm able, hopefully for many years. My Mom walked daily well into her 80s. My great-grandmother was riding horses into her 90s. The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree.

No matter how busy your life is, find time to keep fit. Staying active helps you physically, mentally and emotionally. Physical activity also helps release the stress from your busy day.