At the beginning of each new year, we make resolutions – promises to ourselves to accomplish something or do something new. For a lot of us, that promise is to lose weight, get healthy, or just be more active. We always have good intentions to wake up on New Years Day and finally hit the ground running…literally. In my experience, this may last for several days, or several weeks even. But sooner or later, I begin to make excuses. Either it’s too cold outside, the gym is too crowded, or I don’t have time to cook healthy meals.
Many of you are probably wondering why I am discussing New Years resolutions in February. Here’s why: after spending the past month making each of those excuses, I had a marvelous revelation. I realized that not only was I taking my health for granted, but I was also taking my city for granted! Yes, you heard me right. So many of us fail to see that being healthy doesn’t only involve a visit to the gym. It involves taking advantage of your surroundings and turning everyday decisions into positive steps toward a better lifestyle. That means finding motivation even in the little things. Here’s a few reasons why I think Nashville may just give you what you need to get started:
- This city has options - and I mean A LOT of options. If you are anything like me, you may get bored after running on the treadmill for 5 minutes. I need a variety of exercises or activities to keep me motivated. If you haven’t already noticed, there’s a gym probably every 10 miles (or less) in this city. Most of these gyms offer group classes or personal training sessions. However, joining a gym is a big commitment. What if you don’t end up liking the classes? What if you don’t go enough to justify the monthly payments? Nashville is home to several independent studios that charge by the class, so you can try something new with little money at risk. More and more I hear Nashville natives raving about some new exercise class they tried. Those among the popular list include, Hot Yoga, CrossFit, Zumba, and Pure Barre.
- Nashville is home to several beautiful parks – many of which include trails for walking and bike riding. If the gym is too crowded, try going outdoors for a nice hike. Not only is it great exercise, but the fresh air and natural surroundings will greatly improve your mental health as well. Parks are also great for family outings. You can be active and use that time that you normally would be at the gym, to spend with your kids. Some of my personal favorite parks are Radnor Lake, Percy Warner, and Centennial. To find a park near you, visit www.nashville.gov
- Healthy restaurants are trendy- Yes, we all know that eating out at a restaurant is sometimes easier than cooking every night. No one understands that more than me. But Nashville has so much to offer in this department, I’m not sure where to even start. With the number of restaurants in this city, surely we can find one that doesn’t pack on 1,000 calories in one dish, right? Right. Several Nashville originals offer meals with organic, locally grown produce and meat. Meals that help the environment AND your waste-line. To name a few: The Wild Cow, The Silly Goose, Sunflower Cafe, and the Eat Well Market. If you need a quick meal, try visiting Whole Foods Market in Hillsboro Village. They have an EXCELLENT hot and cold bar with several options to satisfy everyone’s taste-buds.
- There’s an abundance of Farmer’s Markets – You can’t make the excuse that healthy food is hard to come by in this city. It’s everywhere! Just within the last few years, Nashville has become a hub for Tennessee farmers. There are several farmer’s markets where you can buy fresh, organic produce at a fraction of the price that most health food stores charge. Plus, each market is unique it what it has to offer. For a comprehensive list of the farmer’s markets in your area, visit www.nashvillest.com.
- Nashville has top-notch hospitals - The first step to getting healthy or losing weight isn’t signing up for a gym membership. One of the smartest things you can do (and should do) is visit a primary doctor to get your health assessed. Why? Because thousands of Americans are living undiagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol, or other health issues. Not knowing what your body is capable of is dangerous. Lucky for you, Vanderbilt Medical Center is ranked #1 in the state of Tennessee and has been recognized as one of the best hospitals in the country. St. Thomas Hospital came in at a close second for the region. Highly ranked hospitals means GREAT doctors. Take advantage of this fact and see a doctor before starting a fitness regime or diet plan.
There you have it. Nashville is a great place to kickstart your new self. It isn’t too late! Step outside from that rock you’ve been living under and DO SOMETHING NEW!