When it comes to keeping fit and staying in shape, most of us have great intentions. We set ourselves goals such as joining a gym or trying a new diet, or we tell ourselves that starting tomorrow, we will forgo the junk food and replace it with healthier choices. We may even enlist a friend for motivation. Some of us have no problem meeting these goals, while others struggle or procrastinate, and are therefore not quite as successful in our attempts. (I know I fall into the latter category!) However the one thing that most of us have in common is the desire to make healthy lifestyle changes that will help us to feel and look better result as a result. We all want to be fit, healthy and bursting with energy, and luckily for us, we are living in or vacationing in a city where we have unlimited resources for implementing such changes. Here are 5 Panama City Beach ideas that are easy to put into practice.
1. Put the delicious back into healthy eating. Nutritious meals and snacks can be just as yummy as the sugar laden variety, and after a while, you won’t even miss the junk. If you like sushi, Publix offers a great selection, along with a wonderful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Check out the extensive organic and health food sections at both Publix and Winn Dixie and try to switch out just a couple of favorite items a week. Vegetarian options have come a long way – there’s a replacement for almost every type of meat product now, and most of them are actually really good. Try exchanging red meat for the protein-rich Morningstar Farms or Boca variety and enjoy less calories and less fat. Instead of bringing home take-out for dinner, check out seafood markets such as Cardenas on Thomas Drive or Buddy’s on Highway 79 for fresh, local fish and seafood. Simple to cook and full of protein, serve with a crisp salad or fresh greens for a mouth-watering and super healthy dinner. Eating out? Almost all Panama City Beach restaurants offer fresh seafood options or feature healthier choices on the menu. Try the new Shan Kishi on Back Beach Road for Japanese fusion cuisine and sushi, Liza’s Kitchen on Thomas Drive for made-from-scratch sandwiches and soups, or go with the grilled or broiled options at local restaurant favorites such as Schooners, Capt. Anderson’s and Boatyard.
2. Get physical. If you are not already a member of a local gym, check out some of the great specials on membership available, or request a complimentary day pass before you purchase. Gold’s Gym on Hutchinson Blvd is offering a $25 enrollment fee instead of the usual $149, plus a $39 a month membership fee that includes your choice of either unlimited tanning, childcare, or aerobics classes. World Gym on Front Beach Road offers an annual membership at $29 a month, with an initial $29 down. You’re locked in for a year, but after that fees can go month to month. If you live on the west end of the beach or you are looking for a more intimate setting, Carillon Beach is home to a well-equipped boutique gym with membership at $39.95 a month. There’s no initial fee and the lake views make working out something to look forward to.
3. Strike a pose. Yoga is growing tremendously in popularity and for great reason. More and more people are discovering the benefits of this ancient practice and it is now a mainstream option for getting in shape, getting rid of aches and pains, and increasing energy. As well as incredible physical benefits, yoga also calms the mind and is a wonderful way to relax. The good news is that you don’t have to live in L.A to find a great yoga class. Panama City Beach has several options, and you can pick up a yoga mat for around $20 at Wal-Mart, Target or K Mart to take to your class or use between classes at home. Gold’s Gym offers a yoga class on Tuesdays at 6:35 pm to 7:35 pm, or on Wednesdays at 9:30 am to 10:30 am. (may be subject to change.) World Gym offers a class every morning Monday through Friday at 9:40 am to 10:40 am, Saturdays at 10:00 am to 11:00 am, plus an additional class on Monday evening at 6:50 pm to 7:50 pm. (may also be subject to change.) Another option if money is tight is to grab one of the many excellent yoga DVDs available for less than $10, and follow the poses in the comfort of your own home or condo. Namaste.
4. Make it a team effort. Staying in shape doesn’t have to be a chore. You can actually make new friends and have fun at the same time by signing up with an adult softball or soccer team. Get a great workout while getting in touch with your inner competitive side. Frank Brown Park offers an adult softball league with the new season starting at the end of September, and a senior softball league starts in the New Year for the snowbirds. Call (850) 236 3037 for more details. Get a kick start on your soccer skills by contacting Panama City Adult Soccer (PCAS) and asking about their adult soccer league. Games consist of 45 minute halves of play with a 15 minute halftime. There are ten games per season with the top four teams advancing to semi-finals and finals. Teams will travel once every three weeks to play teams in the regional area. For additional information on sports activities on Panama City Beach please call (850) 819 5638.
5. The Beach. There’s nothing like saving the best for last, and in this case that certainly rings true. Here in Panama City Beach we have the best possible resource right on our doorstep, and it won’t cost you a cent. Hit the beach for an unlimited number of ways to work out, both in the water and out. You simply can’t beat the great outdoors, the fresh air and the spectacular setting. Granted, running around on the beach during the summer wouldn’t be much fun, but for the next six months temperatures will get cooler and the beach will be the perfect spot for all kinds of exercise. Walking, running, yoga, swimming, body surfing, boogie-boarding, playing Frisbee and volleyball, we have miles and miles of beautiful beaches that make these activities enjoyable for everyone. Round up some buddies and head to the beach for a game of football, or grab the dog and hit the doggie beach for some fun with Fido. Reconnect with someone special on a sunset stroll, or bring the kids for a day of splashing in the surf. Whatever you do and however you do it – get outside, have fun, and make the most of Panama City Beach’s number one way to keep healthy and happy.