A Fitness Lover's Guide To New Orleans

Sailors workout in hangar bay three aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis | ©  United States Navy/WikiCommons
Sailors workout in hangar bay three aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis | © United States Navy/WikiCommons
Photo of Rebeca Trejo
2 November 2016

While sometimes staying in shape on vacation may seem like a workout in itself, New Orleans’ burgeoning health culture offer’s visiting tourists unique opportunities to get their hearts racing as they tour the Big Easy. From running around an urban park built in 1850 that’s filled with century-old oak trees to kayaking across the historic Bayou St. John, the city’s get-in-shape possibilities are set to satisfy anyone who appreciates a new and fun fitness challenge. Here, we present a NOLA-inspired exercise guide designed to be a guaranteed sweat-breaker.

Outdoor Activities: Parks, Bike Trails & Kayaking

Run, Jog Or Bike Around City Park

Lagoon with bridge and ducks, City Park, New Orleans
Lagoon with bridge and ducks, City Park, New Orleans | © Mr. Littlehand/WikiCommons
If you are looking to stay active while on vacation but stress over the thought of being inside a crowded gym, New Orleans’ City Park is a public urban landscape located in its mid-city neighborhood, where runners, joggers and bikers can enjoy nature-filled workouts. The park, which is approximately 50 percent larger than New York City’s Central Park, features a 400 meter polyurethane track, a three-quarter mile path around Big Lake, the Couturie Forest (a 60 acre natural escape filled with native tress, scenic waterways and fascinating wildlife), and four moles of bike paths that take riders from the historic Bayou St. John to Lake Pontchartrain.

Work Up A Sweat At Audubon Park

Park, Zoo
Audubon Park landscape
Audubon Park landscape | © In Sappho We Trust/Flickr
Located in the Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans, Audubon Park is a 350 acre urban oasis and a city favorite for fitness and recreation. Purchased by the city in 1871, the public park, which is bordered on one side by the mighty Mississippi River and St. Charles Avenue on the other, offers sweat-fix seekers a 1.8 mile jogging path, tennis courts, riding stables, soccer fields, an 1898 golf club and a community pool that is free to use.

Kayak Through The Bayou

If you are looking to explore a unique workout outside of the city limits, New Orleans Kayak Swamp Tours is a canoe and kayak tour agency that offers two hour, beginner-friendly paddles across the Big Easy’s bayous, swamps and rivers. The tours, which are about 40 minutes outside NOLA, take kayak riders on peculiar fitness adventures filled with cypress groves, abandoned houseboats and exotic wildlife. While the experience includes all necessary gear, a paddle lesson and a narrative on history and ecology, guests must make arrangements for transportation through the company’s website. If you are searching for a city tour with a different twist, you can book their Bayou St. John City/cultural/historical tour, where you’ll paddle across New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood and visit historic homes and landmarks.

To book your paddle adventure, click here.+1 504 571 9975


Bike Around NOLA

Craving a two-wheeled (or even three or four) sweat? Head over to A Bicycle Named Desire and discover the city’s gorgeous thoroughfares aboard a self-powered vehicle. The shop, which describes itself as being a ‘bicycle concierge’ due to its locally known southern hospitality and overall good attitude, is located in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans just two blocks away from the Mississippi River and the French Quarter’s market. Riders can choose from its rentals every day of the week except for Tuesdays and can purchase guided tours of the Ninth Ward and Creole New Orleans. For those who wish to ride solo, here’s a downloadable bicycle map to guide you through the Big Easy.

Indoor Exercise: Gym, Boulder & Dance

Orangetheory Fitness

If you are interested in getting a quick and effective workout, Orangetheory Fitness is a gym built around three pivotal components: treadmills, indoor rowing and a weight room with resistance training blocks. The drop-in classes, which are led by personal trainers, come with a personal heart rate monitor for guests to measure their 5-zone interval training progress. Clients burn an estimated 500 to 1000 calories per training session, and, while all fitness levels are embraced, the training session is only open to adults and teens ages 16 and older.

New Orleans Boulder Lounge

Fitness Studio, Gym
First, what is bouldering? Bouldering is a type of climbing done at heights under 20 feet without ropes or harnesses and is one of the new local workout trends being offered by the New Orleans Boulder Lounge. This adrenaline-filled activity, which requires no prior experience to practice it, is not only designed to provide the climbing community with a more accessible destination to pursue and practice their sport, but also to create a space where individuals from all walks of life can pursue a new and challenging exercise. Open every day of the week at their Uptown/Garden District facility, this community-driven club allows visitors to enjoy their indoor bouldering gym facilities, fitness center or yoga classes by purchasing a $16 day pass.

Dancing Grounds

Offering a variety of classes and lessons for both adults and youth alike, Dancing Grounds is a community-driven dance studio located in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. The groove joint, which is led by a talented group of dancers who are prepared to teach visitors of all ability levels their desired dance style, features affordable, drop-in classes weekly that cover everything from bounce and salsa to ballet and contemporary hip-hop.

Dancing Grounds, 3705 St Claude Ave, New Orleans, LA, USA +1 504 535 5791

Mind and Body Workouts

Reyn Studios Power Yoga

Yoga Studio
For those looking to de-stress and nurture the mind, Reyn Studios is one-of-a-kind yoga space that mixes together traditional yoga, physical exercise and the modern understanding of our minds to provide students with a unique practice. Located in the trendy Central Business District, the zen studio offers a variety of yoga and movement-based classes every day of the week, as well as deals for visitors who are just dropping-in for a day. While Reyn is designed to provide classes that range from beginning to experienced levels, they also have a backdoor studio where dancing, meditation and other activities can be practiced.

Higher Power NOLA

Gym, Fitness Studio
Looking to deepen your yoga practice? Higher Power NOLA is a state-of-the-art studio located in the Mid-City neighborhood of the Big Easy. Offering a wide variety of classes ranging from true beginner to more advanced levels, the spot is designed to help guests attain the physical, mental and spiritual benefits they may need to lead a healthier lifestyle. Its signature fusion workout is called ‘Bicycling Buddha’ and consists of a routine that combines 30-35 minutes of indoor cycling with 30-35 minutes of Power Vinyasa yoga.

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