Whether it’s during the busy holiday season or the work week, new research, unsurprisingly, shows that Americans aren’t getting nearly enough exercise to stay healthy. In November, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 26 percent of U. S. adults sit for more than eight hours per day, 45 percent get no “leisure-time physical activity” during a typical week and 11 percent have the double whammy of both sitting for too long and not getting any exercise.
Research also shows that too much sitting, either while starring a computer screen, television or while in a vehicle, can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. The upside is that physical activity can help prevent these diseases as well as reduce susceptibility to dementia, depression and premature mortality. The “take home” message from this and other studies is for people to get moving, even if it’s just for a stroll around the block.
As much as any amount or kind of exercise is far better than none, having access to diverse and interesting fitness options can help bolster motivation for sweaty exertion. Fortunately Santa Clara’s residents have an array of opportunities for some healthy motion beyond hoping on a treadmill or grabbing free weights.
One time-sensitive opportunity is ice skating in Central Park. Santa Clara Ice is an outdoor skating rink that will remain open until Jan. 21 with both day and evening hours. Admission is available to both youth and adults at various rates depending on age and frequency of use, with skates included in the price.
Although New Year’s resolutions can be short-lived, they can also be the start of lifelong good habits. Anytime Fitness, located at 2718 Homestead Rd. currently has a promotional membership for the new year with a $1 start-up fee instead of the usual $149. The promotion is available until Jan. 11 and grants 24-hour workout access to any of the chain’s international locations, soon to be on all continents including Antarctica.
“Working out at Anytime Fitness is like going to a boutique,” said Jay Sanchez, owner of the Homestead Road location. “We’re intentional about making sure members feel comfortable in the space. It’s a very clean and respectful environment.”
The facility recently upgraded its virtual class kiosk that offers a touch-screen where members can access on-demand classes, even in the middle of the night. The kiosk itself is now more user-friendly and features a wider range of classes.
FNS Training Center at 2342 Walsh Ave. focuses on fostering a lifetime of fitness through its Customized Team Training Program that acknowledges the need for a personalized approach to physical fitness. The center offers group training, team training classes, a hybrid boxing studio as well as personal training. They’ve also just unveiled a new Recovery Lab at the center to help members keep their joints and muscles healthy for training.
Bounded by the Guadalupe River, Tasman Drive, Lick Mill Boulevard and Carlyle Court, the Ulistac Natural Area offers 40 acres of open space that supports a number of activities. Although there are no serviced facilities at the park, it’s a local nature lovers paradise that contains woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, savannah and gardens. In addition to taking advantage of the hiking and walking trails set within natural beauty, it’s also possible to get a good workout by participating in one of the volunteer days held to help preserve the trails and wildlife habitats.
Connected to the San Francisco Bay Trail, the San Tomas Aquino Creek Trail contains four segments totaling over eight miles of mostly paved trail access for walking, running or cycling. An additional 0.2-mile section is expected to be constructed. The trail has numerous access points including at Agnew Road, Scott Boulevard, Monroe Street and Pruneridge Avenue.
The Calabazas Creek Trail is part of a network of trails under the jurisdiction of the Santa Clara Valley Water District and runs along the Calabazas Creek starting from near the Bayfront to Highway 101. The trail is partially paved and also allows for walking, running or cycling.
Swimming & Classes
Swimming is a great form of exercise that develops both strength and cardiovascular conditioning while also being low-impact on the joints. The City of Santa Clara offers aquatics programs at George F. Haines International Swim Center in Central Park, senior swim programs at the Santa Clara Senior Center located at 1303 Fremont St., Montague Pool at 3750 De La Cruz Blvd., Warburton Park & Pool at 2250 Royal Dr. and Mary Gomez Park & Pool at 651 Bucher Ave.
The Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department offers sports and fitness classes during every season of the year for all age groups. Online registration is available for a number of activities such as soccer, baseball, martial arts, dance and gymnastics.