Bring in 2022 with new moves, new fitness ideas in Pacific Beach
Starting the new year off with a resolution to “get fit,” “lose weight” or “exercise more” doesn’t have to mean a standard gym membership or bulky home training equipment. It doesn’t even have to mean picking one routine and staying with it an entire year.
Sometimes, trying something totally different can relieve boredom, bring back motivation and lead to discovering a new favorite way to get those muscles moving. Luckily, Pacific Beach residents have a host of opportunities for staying in shape, whether you’re looking for casual low-impact exercises or competitive team sports.
Ax throwing — Bad Axe Throwing San Diego bills itself as “the world’s best urban axe throwing bar.” A brief orientation by an ax throwing coach teaches beginners the techniques. Throwing an ax on a regular basis is a great way to learn a new skill; for the serious throwers, there are even or even competitive teams.
For details, visit badaxethrowing.com, call 844-818-0999 or stop by 1019 Garnet Ave.
Bike riding — No, we’re not talking about the automated scooters that make it too easy to get around. We mean the good, old-fashioned, petal-to-the-metal cruiser that gives you a workout and a wonderful sense of childhood memories! If you have your own bike, it’s a great low-cost option for exercise; after all, it doesn’t have to be the latest style or fad to give you a fun outing.
If you don’t own one, there are several places in Pacific Beach that offer rentals, from beach cruisers to hybrids, tandems and even children’s bikes.
If you don’t mind the bike riding, but mind the crowds and weather, indoor cycling is always an option.
Blacklight yoga — If you’re uncomfortable practicing yoga around others or just want to try it in a new setting, blacklight yoga offers the same poses, except you’re in the dark and covered with either glow-in-the-dark body paint or stickers. Practitioners claim the darkness allows them to concentrate on their posture and not looks. Fluorescent clothing encouraged!
Bowling — Everybody knows bowling balls are heavy, but bowling improves balance and hand and eye coordination, as well as using 134 muscles. Break Point not only has a restaurant and bar, but hosts a dance floor and four premium bowling lanes in an upscale atmosphere.
For details, visit breakpointpb.com, 945 Garnet Ave. or call 858-274-4018.
Boxing — Boxing is a proven, effective form of weight loss, with up to 1,000 calories per workout burned, and it’s great for stress relief! Suitable for absolute beginners to seasoned pros.
According to the RockBox Fitness Pacific Beach website, rockboxfitness.com, “The first thing you should know about our classes is that they are never the same,” and “you can count on always having a new set of exercises awaiting you when class begins.”
RockBox Fitness PB can be found at 1896 Garnet Ave. or 858-429-9283.
Dancing — If you think you can dance your way to fitness, you’re probably right. No matter what style you’re leaning towards, there may be someone in Pacific Beach who teaches it. With several studios and private instructors, aspiring dancers can choose from tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, break, hip hop, waltz and more. There’s even a dancing in heels class for the more adventurous. There are classes for adults, kids of all ages, mothers with youngsters and those with disabilities.
Of course, you don’t need to attend a formal class to learn dancing. There are also plenty of videos to get you started if you’d just like to practice on your own. Or get your own private group together and dance the night away to whatever rhythm you choose.
“Dancing is a lot of mental exercise and juggling more than physical exercise, said Rebecca Grohowski, owner of Dancing Together, a studio offering private dance lessons. “But once you get the moves down and some muscle memory, you get a lot more aerobic exercise. The combination of learning something intricate like dance is very good for your brain health, especially as you get older.”
Dancing Together is at 2180 Garnet Ave. Details at dancingtogether.com or call 619-787-6376.
Dog walking — Honestly, a quick trek outside for the dog to do his business probably isn’t going to burn many calories. But planning a short outing with your pup will at least get you outdoors and moving. For even more of a workout, get together with friends and their pets. And if you don’t have a dog to walk, look for dog rescues or elderly neighbors who might just need the extra help.
For a different kind of canine workout, consider enrolling Fido in an obedience course. Practicing between classes will get you moving even more, and as a bonus, you’ll have a better trained pup at the end.
Frisbee — If you thought only kids play Frisbee, think again! Even a short session of playing with the flying discs keeps your entire body in action; sprinting, jumping, stretching, walking and more.
For those wanting to improve their Frisbee skills, there are even competitions. And anyone can play Frisbee, from children to adults; even the family dog!
Litter pick up — You don’t have to try out a new sport or meet with a group to get a workout if you don’t want to; anything that gets you moving around counts! Wear what you like, including gloves, bring a garbage bag and start picking up trash alongside a route of your choice. This one is low impact on your body, but has a big impact on the earth and is definitely a win-win!
Martial arts — Martial arts training improves physical fitness by exercising the entire body. Regular practice is also said to improve mental, emotional and spiritual health.
Whether you want to channel your inner Karate Kid or learn some self defense, martial arts covers a wide variety of techniques, including Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Shaolin Kempo, Karate, Kung Fu, Jiu Jitsu, Sumo and many more. Many people practice more than one style. Nearly all require concentration and specific skill sets.
“Rather than running on a treadmill or doing something one dimensional, you have to stay focused to do the moves in martial arts,” said Daymon Kenyon, owner of Kenyon’s Karate Centers. “It’s a mind and body activity — more than just a physical way of getting in shape. It keeps you alert, aware, centered and allows you to perceive and understand your feelings better.”
For information on various martial arts and how they can keep you in shape, contact Kenyon’s Karate Centers at 1551 Grand Ave., visit kenyons.com or call 858-299-5522.
Mission Bay Aquatic Center — Pacific Beach is known for water sports, but if you’re hesitant, you don’t have to dive right in. The Mission Bay Aquatic Center is open to the public and is a resource for the community to have access to water sports programs, classes and rentals.
Classes and lessons include sailing, wakeboarding, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, surfing, rowing, powerboat safety and windsurfing. Another group of classes focuses on youth, and range from sailing and wake sports to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) explorations. It even offers regular get-togethers for beach clean ups.
The center is owned and operated by the Associated Students of SDSU and UC San Diego Recreation. The Mission Bay Aquatic Center is at 1001 Santa Clara Place. Call 858-488-1000 or visit mbaquaticcenter.com to learn more.
Mural hunting — Walking with a purpose can burn off some calories. Make it extra fun by searching for art while you stroll. The Pacific Beach Murals program includes at least 50 different hand-painted murals, with subjects ranging from sea life to John Lennon to historic views of the town. That number doesn’t include sculptures, historical landmarks, utility box art and pedestrian crosswalk murals.
Two different versions of a free map with the location and artist information of public art in PB can be found at the Beautiful PB website: beautifulpb.com/art-in-place-2021. A separate map of pedestrian crosswalk murals can be found at tinyurl.com/PBcrosswalkmurals.
Paddle boarding — For a low impact exercise, paddle boarding boasts an array of benefits. Whether paddling or just balancing on the board, a combination of balance, strength and endurance is used. Paddle boarding also burns an impressive amount of calories for a relaxing, fun sport. If you don’t have your own gear, several places in PB rent paddle boards.
Pickleball — Whether you prefer to play indoors or out, pickleball is a fast-growing sport combining elements of badminton, pingpong and tennis. All ages and skill sets can enjoy it, as the rules are simple and easy. For more experienced players, the game can become quick and competitive.
Set up an informal game in your backyard, or look for community centers and public parks for courts or even free classes.
PB Recreation Center — Although currently closed due to COVID restrictions, the PB Recreation Center (part of the City of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department) offers a range of activities for young and old when open. Facilities include a weight room, two lighted outdoor basketball courts, two lighted tennis courts, lighted multi-purpose athletic field, sand tot lot, basketball and volleyball gymnasiums and more.
Check out tinyurl.com/SDrecprograms for the most up-to-date activities being offered. The Pacific Beach Recreation Center is at 1405 Diamond St. It can be reached at 858-581-9927.
Roller skating — The roller skating culture of San Diego never really went away, and why should it? With our wide-open spaces and sunny weather, skating offers a great way to get a workout and have fun while doing so.
Whether your roller skates are the old-fashioned kind or the newest inline version, roller skating is good exercise, building balance, muscle control and improving posture. The American Heart Association considers roller skating an aerobic fitness sport. Just be sure to wear your protective gear, including a helmet, knee and elbow pads and wrist guards.
Shopping — Shopping might not be a typical way to exercise, but if you’re one of the “shop ‘till you drop” crowd, Pacific Beach is a great place to work out your wallet and your body. Whether it’s one-of-a-kind boutiques or brand name stores, work out your arms carrying your goods.
For a more “natural” shopping workout, hit the PB Farmer’s Market, from 2 to 7 p.m., Tuesdays year-round. You’ll find plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, meats, cheese, bread, flowers, gourmet dining options and handcrafted artisan works. It is located on Bayard Street between Grand and Garnet avenues.
Skateboarding — The fitness benefits of skateboarding have been compared to those of jumping rope. Even just pushing around on flat ground can accelerate the cardiovascular system and burn from 8 to 12 calories a minute. Skateboarding also helps develop muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes, quads and abs.
The PB boardwalk has long been known as a perfect place for skating. There are also several skate parks in the immediate area. If it’s something you want to try first, skateboards can be rented from many of the same places renting bicycles and roller skates.
Walking — The oceanfront boardwalk runs three miles through Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. You’ll share the space with skateboarders, bikers, rollerbladers, runners, surfers, tourists, locals and other walkers. Of course, you can take the same walk in the sand. No matter which way you walk it, it’s fun and free. Going to the end of Crystal Pier is another fun stroll.
YMCA — Known for an array of classes, there are several YMCA branches in San Diego. Although the Beach and Bay Family YMCA in Pacific Beach is temporarily closed until further notice, nearby locations are open. The Dan McKinney Family YMCA is at 8355 Cliffridge Ave. in La Jolla, or call 858-453-3483. The T. Claude and Gladys B. Ryan Family YMCA is at 4390 Valeta St. in Point Loma, or call 619-226-8888. The Beach and Bay Family YMCA is at 4606 Ingraham St. or call 858-273-9622.
Yoga — According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, studies have proven yoga can improve strength, balance and flexibility, help with pain relief, benefit heart health, is relaxing and can give you more energy and lighter moods.
PB has a wealth of yoga classes available, including early morning classes, sunset classes and classes offered throughout the day. You can practice yoga by yourself or join a group; many events are free. Seated yoga is even available for the elderly or those with limited mobility.
Other places that sometimes offer fun or unusual workout classes include public libraries, senior centers, maternity wards (both before and after delivery) and health clinics. Ask around and you might find a class nearby. If you don’t, then don’t hesitate to get together with friends (or strangers) and start a class of your own!