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Three Ways to Turn Piedmont Park Into Your Gym

Piedmont Park is known for outdoor fun and recreation, but have you considered using the Park as a core part of your fitness routine? Fitness partner Saidah Jones of Love You Healthy Fitness shares her top recommendations for infusing Piedmont Park into your health goals.

1) Plan Regular Walks around Piedmont Park

Walking is one of the most important things that one can do for their bone density, heart health and sanity. Walking is a full-body exercise as it requires every body part to be able to step and pull your body forward, which is why walking outdoors is better than walking on treadmills. Incorporating daily and/or weekend walks is the number one way to prioritize your health. Not to mention, walking outdoors is one of the safest forms of exercise during the pandemic.

2) Take Advantage of the Piedmont Park Active Oval

The Active Oval is perfect for walkers and runners of all fitness levels. Tracking time and steps is easy because the track measures slightly over a half mile and it level. In addition there are two sets of stairs that offer an additional fitness boost for those of high fitness levels who want to increase their caloric output. Here is the Piedmont Park Conservancy Active Oval Workout Plan that I often complete with family, and friends of ALL fitness levels.

  1. Walk one lap around the track
  2. Complete 10 pushups on the elevated stone wall by the stairs
  3. Walk five flights of stairs
  4. Complete ten push-ups on the elevated stone wall
  5. Walk one lap around the track to complete the workout

3) Participate in a Group Fitness Class

In addition to using the Park’s pathways and Active Oval for daily movement, try a group fitness class to work on your strength and toning! Piedmont Park Conservancy partners with Love You Healthy Fitness to offer group experiences at Piedmont Park (temporarily offered via Zoom during the pandemic). Adding classes will ensure you are getting a well-rounded fitness routine.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it should be that health matters. Being healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Know that you are capable, understand that you are equipped and realize that your body is ready to be the vision of health that it is meant to be. Take care and love yourself to health in 2021. Oh and don’t forget, hydrate and veg up!

Author: Saidah Jones

Please consult your physician before starting a new fitness regimen or workout plan. 

Jeff Galloway’s Piedmont Park Memories

Jimmy Carter. Changing The Peachtree Road Race Course. A New Relay Race.

I “discovered” Piedmont Park by accident. It was 1960, and I was warming up for my race at a track meet at Grady Stadium. I was nervous, the track was crowded and I wanted to run away from the crowd to settle my mind. I ran across 10th Street and was drawn into the calming natural environment of Piedmont Park. I returned to the track and ran one of my best races that year.

Life experiences during the next decade brought me to Connecticut for college, sailing with the United States Navy off Vietnam, Tallahassee for graduate school and the Olympics in Munich, Germany. By 1975, I was drawn back to Atlanta and looking for the best location for my running store: Phidippides – the original running store in Atlanta, and in the United States.

Before choosing from three possible locations, I took a three-mile run around each store. Once I ran from Ansley Mall along Piedmont Road and found the Park, my choice was made. I remembered my run in high school and was excited to have the wonderful loops and fields so close to the store.

“Regardless of the number of stress items on my “to do list,” the Park’s calming hormones worked their magic as soon as I entered the tree-lined sanctuary.”

As Phidippides became the headquarters for the Peachtree Road Race during the big growth years of 1975-1978, I ran many miles throughout every area of the Park because I had to squeeze in my run during hectic work days. Regardless of the number of stress items on my “to do list,” the Park’s calming hormones worked their magic as soon as I entered the tree-lined sanctuary.

During the first two years that I served on the management team of “The Peachtree”, the race finished at 5 Points in the downtown district. As I was looking for ways to improve the course, I was inspired to change the finish to Piedmont Park during my one of runs from Phidippides. With the help of Director Bill Neace and our Public Affairs Director Bob Brennan, we were able to make this move which is now noted as one of the race highlights.

A special sighting occurred on one my pre-dawn runs in 1978 along Lake Clara Meer. There was a vehicle ahead with some runners in a tight group headed toward me. Since vehicles were not allowed in the park, I was curious. On the outside of this group were several huge guys intently looking at me. As the group ran under a streetlight, I saw President Jimmy Carter on his morning run!

“As the group ran under a streetlight, I saw President Jimmy Carter on his morning run!”

While Piedmont Park was a wonderful resource during the ‘70s and ‘80s, there were a number of problems including areas that were not very safe. This was BC: “Before Conservancy,” which was founded in 1989. There has been a dramatic upgrade in the Park, including safety, due to the work of this great organization.

My favorite run into the Park starts on the BeltLine behind Ansley Mall and into Piedmont Park without having to cross a street. I love to see the dogs in the dog park and then run over to Park Tavern and up to Lake Clara Meer. My Galloway Training Program members have run thousands of miles in Piedmont Park. I trained for my personal marathon record there (2:16), finding an ideal variety of flat and rolling terrain all inside the Park.

My wife Barbara and I are proud to host a 5K, half marathon and kids runs on December 14 and 15 with the major beneficiary being the Piedmont Park Conservancy. This year, we have an exciting new relay division of the half marathon for walkers and runners during the Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute’s Half Marathon, powered by Jeff Galloway. Gather your friends, co-workers, and family members to enter a team. The last segment is less than three miles and entirely inside beautiful Piedmont Park. I will be at the finish line for pictures and congratulations.

I have run in many great parks across the globe. Piedmont Park is truly “world class” due to the work of the Conservancy. Join us for our 6th Annual Race Weekend and support this wonderful organization. Register today at www.jeffgalloway131.com.

Author: Jeff Galloway

Author Bio: Native Atlantan Jeff Galloway ran in the Munich Olympics, founded the first running store in the US (Phidippides), has coached over a million runners and walkers, and directs the Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute’s Half Marathon, powered by Jeff Galloway which finishes in Piedmont Park.

Piedmont Park: A Place for Friends

Are you looking for a place to make new friends or new memories? Come on over to Piedmont Park and experience life in Atlanta’s favorite park! Piedmont Park is a bustling urban green space and full of life every day. Here are just a few ways you can get involved!

1) The Active Oval: The Active Oval is a staple of Piedmont Park and one of the best places to meet new people. Many different intramural sports teams reserve the space for their games, and there’s always room for another player. It also has a full track and fitness equipment, making it a great place to get your workout in!

2) Free Yoga on the Promenade: Every fourth Monday of the month, Piedmont Park offers a free yoga class on the Promenade. Grab your mat and head over because you’re bound to meet a ton of great people and maybe even find that workout buddy you’ve been searching for!

3) Picnics in the Park: Picnics in Piedmont Park are very popular among Atlantans and one of the best ways to spend a Sunday afternoon in the city. Pack your favorite snacks, round up your favorite people, and pick one of the many scenic spots in Piedmont Park to kick back and enjoy each other’s company!

4) Green Market: Every Saturday from 9:00 AM-1:00 PM, Piedmont Park hosts the Green Market, a local farmers market dedicated to bringing locally sourced produce to the Atlanta community. Start your Saturday right and come out to enjoy the incredible food trucks, unbeatably fresh produce, and captivating live music at one of Midtown’s favorite farmers markets!

5) Dog Parks: The Piedmont Park Dog Parks are one of the most utilized spaces at the Park. Grab your four-legged friends and check out our off-leash parks. Locals frequent the dog parks, making it one of the best places to meet new people. Not only will you meet dozens of your neighbors but even your pup will find a furry friend!

Whether you’re looking to get active, or looking for a spot to relax, Piedmont Park has a place for you! Piedmont Park welcomes everybody and is the perfect place to engage with your new community or to make memories with your friends!

Follow Piedmont Park on Instagram @piedmontpark to see more of what life is like inside the Park!

Author: Olivia Gage

First Day of Summer: Are you in the know?

Although the heat has been blazing in Atlanta for the past couple of months, June 21st marked the first official day of summer. Now that the season is finally here, the question is how to spend it? To make this summer one to remember, head to Piedmont Park and involve the family in some outdoor fun! Whether it’s swimming the afternoon away or going to one of the Park’s many events, Piedmont Park has plenty of options for how you can make the most of the warm weather and clear skies–all in Atlanta’s backyard.

Events, Events and More Events

For an exciting weekend activity, rally up your crew and add a Park event to your summer schedule. For starters, the Horizon Theatre will be performing their hit musical, “Freaky Friday” on the Promenade through June 23. Attendees can bring blankets, low-back chairs and a picnic packed with dinner for a night of song, dance and boisterous laughter! With July arrives our Runaway Bride 5K, an event dedicated to the brides, grooms, bridesmaids, groomsmen, and “always-a-guests” out there looking for an excuse to flex their running/walking chops (and get a free t-shirt while they’re at it.) Dog lovers should check out a pup-friendly dog contest happening in early August at which one lucky dog will be named Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year.

Don’t Forget the Sunscreen!

Grab your towels and pool supplies for a cool down at Piedmont Park’s popular Aquatic Center, which features a pool with four lap lanes and plenty of shaded tables. There’s also the Legacy Fountain Splash Pad, a popular spot for kids who enjoy zig-zagging through its 70 jets. When you get hungry, check out our concessions: King of Pops, offering ice-cold popsicles or The Market where you can indulge in a savory lunch with options like the “Slow Pork & Mango Cuban” sandwich and the “Heart of the Park” hot dog.

Bikes R Us

Imagine this: You’re on a bike, cool air graces your face with each tire rotation and you’re surrounded by lush greenery. This could be you at Piedmont Park, where visitors can pedal on paved paths that lead to every corner of the Park for ample exploration. No bike? No problem. Atlanta’s low-cost Relay Bike Share bicycles are available to rent, allowing anyone to hop off their ride at seemingly every turn to take in the beautiful scenery.

Learn Something New!

Take a leisurely stroll through the Park and learn some interesting tidbits about the Park’s storied past by going on one of our free docent-led history tours. Lead yourself on a self-guided tour to explore the most photographed locations in the Park or make a game of spotting the some of the oldest trees in Atlanta. Bird walks are offered in collaboration with the Atlanta Audubon Society; hone your observation skills and impress your friends with your newfound knowledge of unique bird calls.

Don’t Miss Our Future Events!

Guest Post by Aliya Seymour

Strength is Sexy…Time to Flex

In the past women had been taught to think that lifting weights will make you bulky or masculine.  It wasn’t until recently that we began to dabble in light toning and strength training.  The beauty of strength training is that you are always in control of how and what you want to look like.  It is important to have a systematic way of strength training that is both sustainable and safe.  Systematic, safe weight training means lifting an appropriate amount of weight while applying the proper repetitions through the full range of motion.  This is how my clients and class will move into weight lifting in the coming month.  I encourage everyone to take a reputable fitness class or work with a certified fitness trainer to ensure a proper training protocol when doing strength training.  In the meantime, here are some tips for the proper way to begin a strength training program with weights:

  1. Begin with light weights, high repetitions and full range of motion. Moving through the exercise with weights in the full range of motion is how to prep the ligaments, joints and tendons.
  2. All workouts should be full-body.  Encompassing low-body, upper-body and abdominal work.
  3. Back and Biceps, Chest and Triceps. Don’t forget legs and core. Although I advocate full-body workouts be specific as to how you group your exercises.
  4. The heart is a muscle too. Begin or end your workout with some form of exercise that is solely to increase your heart-rate, i.e a pre-workout run, 20 minutes on the bike after etc.
  5. Slightly increase either in volume of intensity every 3 to 4 weeks.  This is sure you are accomplishing steady gains.

Begin your strength journey with the Piedmont Park Conservancy and Love You Healthy’s LIFT classes! Learn More

Guest Post by Saidah Jones, Love You Healthy

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