(The Root) -- Forget the tomfoolery commonly associated with Atlanta nowadays -- reality-TV catfights, hair pulling, unsupervised egomaniacs and poseurs looking to be idolized. The city with more Peachtree streets than visitors can remember is very supportive of individuals who want a healthier and more serene quality of life.
A new transplant to the area from Los Angeles -- a vegan who enjoys outdoor activities -- recently asked me if there was anything in Atlanta that aligned with her interests. Is there?! Metro Atlanta can be like a supportive friend to anyone dedicated to healthy living, offering a variety of support and encouragement. One of the most obvious offerings is green space. It's really green here -- because of the 356 parks and green spaces managed by the city of Atlanta. And many neighborhoods in metro Atlanta have a nearby park with a walking track.
Where to Work Out
One popular spot where many Atlantans and visitors like to get their exercise on is the city's version of New York's Central Park, Piedmont Park (521 Park Drive NE, Atlanta). Situated on 185 acres in the heart of Midtown, the park offers a few trails that joggers, walkers, bladers and bicyclists can trek. There's the Park Loop, the longest circuit at 1.68 miles; the .96-mile Lake Loop, which circles Clara Meer; and the Active Oval, which is .70 miles and includes a half-mile running path.
While Piedmont Park is conveniently located, Stone Mountain Park (1000 Robert E. Lee Drive, Stone Mountain) is a runner's paradise. You can either walk or run up the 1.3-mile Walk Up Trail to the mountain's summit, which offers a fantastic panoramic view of the metro area. The five-mile paved loop at the mountain's base helps you keep track of your progress with its highlighted mile markers at every half-mile. In total, the 3,200-acre state park has 15 miles of hiking and walking trails and a 363-acre lake.
Another popular choice is the Silver Comet Trail (4573 Mavell Road, Smyrna), which begins in nearby Smyrna and is more than 61 miles long, spanning more than three counties northwest of Atlanta. Named for the Silver Comet passenger train that traveled along a former railroad, the paved trail is often the site of cycling and foot races. This trail doesn't run through the city of Atlanta, but city officials are reportedly looking to build trails that connect to it.
The YMCA is also very useful, not just for tightening up glutes and having a place to run indoors when it rains, but also for offering travelers the convenience of visiting other locations. Yes, a lot of gyms offer that feature, but do they have the YMCA's pricing? There are 21 YMCAs throughout metro Atlanta, including five in the city. Another option is taking classes or pumping iron at one of 33 recreation centers operated by the Atlanta city government. Like the YMCA, the city-run facilities offer a variety of dance, swimming and aerobic classes that will get the blood flowing.
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