Fitness for the Average Joe: Where to Sit Less & How to Move More

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“Look, I don’t like to get off of my couch. How can I get fit?” This is the dialogue you often hear when it comes to fitness. As described in a previous article, getting fit doesn’t necessarily mean sweating until you have six-pack abs and a perfect beach body. Fit simply means your ability to physically accomplish a task. Thus, when it comes to hauling kids around and lifting things from awkward positions, the stay-at-home mom may be more fit than the professional marathoner.

Upset with your current level of fitness? The comment that is often made is that you don’t know where to start. The first guiding principle of general fitness is simple: Sit less. Move more. Fortunately for us in the Hill Country, the opportunities to move more are ample and come slathered in gorgeous scenery.

If a hike through some majestic Hill Country terrain doesn’t get you going, nothing will. Here are a few of our favorite spots for a great hike. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has provided a list of all the state parks in the Hill Country and the nearby areas.

1. Purgatory Creek Natural Area in San Marcos

Purgatory Creek Natural Area

Photo: Flickr/San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance

First of all, this place is free. No admission. It is maintained by the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance and includes 22 miles of trails. The terrain varies from river bottoms to Oak groves, to rocky outcroppings and sandy single track. It is great for the hiker, trail runner, and mountain biker alike.

2. McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Cedar Creek

Pine Bluff Overlook at McKinney Roughs Nature Park

Photo: Matthew Monk

Just on the edge of the Hill Country, a short drive east on Highway 71 from Austin, is the McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Managed by the LCRA, admission is $5. With stunning vistas of the Colorado River, horse trails, wildlife viewing areas and over 18 miles of trails, this place is hard to beat. Zip-lining, swimming and youth and nature classes are some of the other activities and services you can enjoy. Facility rentals for parties and events are also available.

3. Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge in Marble Falls

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Photo: Flickr/Mark Bonica

Balcones is one of few public lands available to hunt. Dove hunts are available at $20, while big game hunting prices vary and tags must be drawn. The refuge also offers over 12 miles of wildlife viewing, hiking, and bike trails. All trails are free of charge. All in all, Balcones is the perfect place to go for a nice leisurely hike or pack out meat for your freezer.

If these breathtaking locales don’t whet your whistle to get out and get moving, then nothing will. So what say you? Sit less. Move more.