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Outdoors in D.C.

​Katherine Gustafson

There are loads of ways to stay fit in the Capital—here are just a few suggestions for workouts in the open air!

Warm, sunny weather brings more than just humid­ity to the D.C. area. The summer is the perfect chance to get moving, whether you fancy a stroll around the monuments, a bike ride along a canal or a competitive game of kickball. Here are five fun activities to get you out in the fresh air this season.

Washington Walks

Operating under the tagline, “If you haven’t been on a Washington Walk, you haven’t been to Washington,” Washington Walks offers a range of tours covering many of the city’s high points. Neighborhood strolls around Dupont, Georgetown and U Street will give you the local viewpoint, while events like “Memorials by Moonlight,” “Capitol Hauntings” and “Abraham Lincoln’s Washington” offer unusual perspectives. The walks last around two hours and most are wheelchair accessible.

Cycle the C&O Canal and Beyond

While most of the historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal is unused and overgrown, the towpath that runs its length is still employed by runners, hikers and bikers. Running along the Potomac River from downtown D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland, the towpath offers 184.5 miles of opportunity for bicyclists to get their legs moving. The 150-mile Great Allegheny Passage Trail that connects to the towpath at Cumberland makes it possible to ride 335 miles from D.C. to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, without ever crossing paths with a car.

Yoga in the Park

Yoga in the open air sounds like a special kind of work­out. Try it out for yourself this summer with Bikram Yoga Dupont’s tenth season of Yoga in the Park at Me­ridian Hill Park on 16th Street, NW. All ages and ability levels are welcome, including complete beginners, and all classes are free. Teachers from a variety of lo­cal yoga studios bring their individual talents to each session, which take place every Sunday, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., from June through August. Bring a yoga mat or towel so you aren’t doing your downward dogs on the dirt.

Team Sports: Kickball to Quidditch 

D.C. residents work hard and play hard. A robust culture of team sports leagues has grown up to channel the competitive spirit of the city’s cubicle warriors. The organization DC Social Sports forms leagues for a wide range of pastimes, from old stand­bys like soccer and running to newly popular—and at times silly—pursuits like cornhole and quidditch. If softball, street hockey and flag football seem old hat, give kickball, broomball or dodgeball a try. And remember, the social aspect of these teams is usually just as important as the sports.

Beach Volleyball

D.C. is not L.A. by any means, but the capital city has fun in the sun with the best of them. The sand vol­leyball courts tucked between the Lincoln Memorial and the Kennedy Center might be a bit out-of-the-way, but they are host to a thriving beach volleyball scene. Summer days see shirtless contenders setting and spiking until daylight fades. DC Social Sports hosts competitive and social leagues for those looking for some structured play. Get double the workout by riding your bike to the courts—they lie along the Rock Creek Park trail.

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