I am a big fan of exercising but not a fan of the gym. I have a hard time doing the same routine day in and day out and not being stimulated by my surroundings while exercising. I like to exercise but not really do so in the traditional gym, yoga, Bar Method kind of way. I want to have fun and do a little cardio at the same time.
San Francisco is a great city for people who want to work out but don't want to join a gym. Not only is the city full of hills to work your buns but has over 300 stairways to get a maximum workout in minimal time. My six favorite workouts are free and have fabulous views to keep you entertained.
1. Lyon Street Steps- Start at the corner of Lyon and Green Street and walk or better run up these popular steps all the way to Broadway and back. Great workout. Popular but there's no finger pointing or mocking when you need a break and grasp the handrail gasping for air.
2. Presidio's Immigrant Point/Coastal Connector better known as the "1000 Steps"- It's actually only 808 steps but its sure to make you feel the burn. The trail starts at Overlook Point and takes you all the way to Baker Beach. Beautiful views and a shady canopy make this a great weekend walk or run.
3. Coit Tower- The Telegraph Hill walk up to Coit Tower is the most scenic city hike on a clear day. I've had the pleasure of running up to Coit Tower (unintentionally) on the main street and it's a great workout sans steps. You will 100% feel the burn. You can also take the Filbert Street Steps of the Greenwich Street Steps for a more scenic and classic trip up to Coit Tower. Anyway you do it, you'll be sure to appreciate the sweeping views and benches to rest on at the top of the tower.
4. Crissy Field- For those who desire no incline try walking or running Chrissy Field. This dead flat trail takes you from the Marina/ Fort Point to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. A good resting point is the Sports Basement for a drink or restroom break.
5. Golden Gate Bridge- I attempted to give my mother a heart attack a few years ago when I came up with the fantastic idea to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge. This is a strenuous bike ride which should not be taken lightly. If you aren't into biking the bridge, an easier (and more enjoyable) trip is to walk the bridge or run. The views can't be beat and since you are walking the bridge you get twice the work out as you have to walk back across to the city.
The City has so many wonderful exercise possibilities. Take advantage of the city's natural topography and get a workout while exploring the city by the bay!