DENVER (June 4, 2014) - Exercise is a little different a mile above sea level. There's 25 percent less protection from the sun, so sunscreen is a must. And the mile high air is thinner, so you need to work a little harder.
But there's no denying the results. The residents of Denver - The Mile High City - are consistently rated as some of the thinnest and fittest in the nation with the highest percentage of skiers and one of the highest percentages of runners and bikers per capita. Many professional cyclists, runners and even football players choose to do workout programs at high altitude because of the physical boost it gives to their training.
So if you're looking for a Rocky Mountain "boot camp" to jump start your summer conditioning, here are several public places you can work out like a local in Denver, while enjoying the scenery, the camaraderie and the fun of being outdoors in Denver's clean, dry, mile high climate.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN BOOT CAMPS
Check out some unique fitness programs in unparalleled settings.
WHEN: Most Saturday mornings, May-July
WHERE: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
COST: $12 drop in rate
This isn't your ordinary workout. The awe-inspiring natural wonder that is Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre is transformed into a 3,000-acre outdoor gym this summer. A team of fitness experts and certified personal trainers guide participants through a one hour-long, Saturday morning workout (7-8 a.m.) while giving them important nutritional and health advice and instructing them on physical activities they can use in everyday life to continue their health and wellness.
WHEN: Mondays through Thursdays, various times, through September
WHERE: Civic Center Park
New in 2014, Civic Center MOVES is a FREE summer fitness series for all experience levels right in the heart of downtown's beautiful Civic Center Park. Produced by the Civic Center Conservancy, the classes include:
- Monday Evenings (6-7 p.m.): Yoga
- Tuesday Lunchtimes (11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.): Yoga with Denver Parks & Recreation
- Tuesday Lunchtimes (12:15-1 p.m.): Boot Camp with Denver Parks & Recreation
- Wednesday Mornings (6:15-7 a.m.): Free Fitness Tribe with November Project-Denver
- Thursday Evenings (5:30-6:30 p.m.): Full-Body Workout with Pearl Street Fitness
MILE HIGH ZEN: SUMMERTIME YOGA
Find some inner peace in the great outdoors this summer.
WHEN: Mondays through Thursdays
WHERE: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St.
COST: $8 member, $10 non-member per session
The perfect way to say "Namaste" is amidst thousands of blooming flowers and plants. At Denver Botanic Gardens, awaken your energy and unlock your inner potential through specific breathing, movements, stretching, meditation and mantra. Just bring your yoga mat and a bottle of water, and breathe in the fresh, floral air.
- Monday Evenings (6:30-7:30 p.m., year-round): Kundalini Yoga
- Tuesday and Thursday Mornings (8-9 a.m., May-September): Sunrise Vinyasa Yoga
- Wednesday Evenings (6-7 p.m., year-round): Vinyasa Yoga
WHEN: July 26, August 2, 9 & 16, 7-8 a.m.
WHERE: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre
COST: $12 per session
Join up to 1,600 other yoga enthusiasts for a sunrise session at one of the most spectacular venues in the world - Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre. The sessions are led by instructors from Core Power Yoga. Bring water and a yoga mat and get ready for a yoga session that is unlike any other you've ever experienced.
- BONUS: Don't miss Michael Franti's Afternoon Yoga Session at Red Rocks on July 6, a mass yoga and acoustic music jam with Michael Franti & Friends, led by some of today's most inspiring teachers from across North America.
WHEN: Sundays, May 25, June 1, 8, 22 & 29, August 17 & 24, September 7, 21, & 28
WHERE: Sunken Gardens Park, 1099 Speer Blvd.
COST: $15 per session (free days offered on June 1 and September 7)
Yoga Rocks the Park started in Denver seven years ago and are now in over 20 cities across the U.S. The weekly event features an outdoor, all-levels, 75-minute yoga class taught by the area's most inspiring local and national yoga teachers, accompanied by live music. A fun kids yoga program for your little yogis is also available.
WHEN: Every third Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery, 3200 Larimer St.
COST: $20 per class, includes one glass of wine
How about a little wine with your yoga? The Vino and Vinyasa class, led by Erin Hardy of The Yoga Mat studio, takes place at the uber-hip Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery in Denver's thriving River North (RiNo) neighborhood. After you're finished, relax in Infinite Monkey's tasting room and sample some of their great wines.
RUN IT OFF
These run clubs are the way that Denverites socialize while exercising. Meet some locals and try some beers, while exploring some of Denver's fun neighborhoods.
WHEN: Tuesdays, 6 p.m., year-round
WHERE: Denver Beer Co.
Denver residents love craft beer almost as much as they like working out. Hence, the Denver Beer Co. Run Club, a weekly run through the hip neighborhood of Lower Highlands (LoHi). Show up at the brewery, do a little stretching, learn the route and then set off on a 5K walk/jog/run through the beautiful Riverfront, LoHi and Highlands neighborhoods. It's followed by a free pasta dinner on the Denver Beer Co.'s sunny patio. And a few select craft beers, of course. Be sure to try the Graham Cracker Porter, it's described as "a campfire in a glass."
Highland Tap & Burger Run Club
WHEN: Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m., year-round
WHERE: Highland Tap & Burger, 2219 W. 32nd Ave.
Meet up with fellow fitness enthusiasts at Highland Tap & Burger and run a four-mile loop around the historic neighborhoods of Lower Downtown and Highland. All runners get complimentary pasta, salad and garlic bread as well as 20 percent off all Oskar Blues draft beers. Highland Tap & Burger features dozens of Colorado craft beers on tap and in bottles.
With 85 miles of paved, off-street bike trails and a gigantic bike sharing program, Denver is a one of America's top cycling-centric cities.
WHEN: Wednesdays, through September 24
WHERE: Various locations
This is how Denver rolls! The irreverent Denver Bike Night, presented by Denver Cruiser Ride, is a free, weekly pub crawl that meets every Wednesday to cycle safely through the streets of Denver. A mid-week Mile High City tradition for ten summers, each of the 20 summer rides boasts a different theme - often involving zany costumes. With close to 60,000 people turning out over the season, Denver Bike Night has become the largest weekly bike party on the planet! Themes this year include Bubble Wrap & Duct Tape (June 18), Dungeons and Drag Queens (August 13) and Pirates, Sea Men and Mermaids (September 17). Bike rental locations are available around the city, or hop on-and-off a B-cycle at one of 83 stations and join the energetic crowd!
WHERE: At 83 stations throughout Denver
COST: $9 daily pass