By Krystal Lambert
If you’re anything like me, the thought of working out at a gym filled with body-builders and cardio queens makes you cringe. While the local gym may be a mecca for gym rats, it’s just not for everyone. There is something about a treadmill in particular that is just so repetitive and mundane to me that I can’t bring myself to get on one without a friend next to me to pass the time. I have found that being outdoors, when the weather is bearable, is the only way I can truly enjoy a workout. Here are some of my favorite places to workout (outside and free) in Joplin.
~The Frisco Hills~
Unless you’re a total noob, you already know about The Frisco Trail. While the full trail is a lovely woodsy experience for runners, walkers, and bikers alike, the hills portion of the trail is 10/10 for getting a decent workout. This is the portion of the trail that starts at the corner of Florida and Newman (adjacent to the bullseye gas station) and goes all the way to St. Louis Ave. I often meet one of my girls here and we walk the hills two or three times back and forth. There is quite a decent incline on the hills so by the end of our walk & talks, I can feel my legs burning.
~The Mercy Stairs~
As you will see, my workout spots always involve either stairs or hills. I’m not a huge fan of running long distance, so I prefer a spot where I can hike or climb. Walking is fine but I prefer something that works my butt and legs, like stairs. The Mercy Park is located at 26th and Maiden Lane, and has beautiful set of stairs that are wide enough for several people to walk up and down at once, and are also well lit at night. This is great because it is difficult to find safe-ish places to work out at night. I feel comfortable going there at night by myself, and there are bathrooms that are open 24/7. My girl Vic and I go there several times a week and we usually walk up and down the stairs for an hour. The stairs aren’t very steep so it doesn’t feel like you are working out super hard, but I have seen a difference in my legs and butt from just a few nights a week of walking these stairs.
~Rando Apartment Complex~
If you are really tryna keep that booty right and you want something more intense for your outdoor workouts, I highly recommend an apartment complex with several 4 story buildings. I go to one that I won’t name because lol it’s probably technically loitering or something since I don’t live there, but there are several that fit the bill in Joplin. You want it to be well lit, and have 3 or 4 stories per building. I take the stairs 2 at a time, and try to do each set of stairs twice. The one I currently go to has 6 buildings, so that’s 12 total sets of stairs if you do them twice. Taking them 2 at a time is pretty intense so you can always alternate at first until you build up more strength in your legs. I can tell you the apartment stairs workout is the best thing I’ve found for my legs and butt, no matter how bizarre it sounds. The only downside is that it is difficult to bring a friend because the stairs are generally too narrow to walk beside each other.
Did you know that most of the time during the morning/afternoon, the MSSU Stadium is open for whoever? Occasionally I have shown up and the gate has been locked for practice or whatever, but most times it is open to the public. The stadium stairs are legit the best workout of your life, just trust me on that. They are huge and cement and kind of far apart so its almost like doing lunges the whole way up. I usually do the stairs 5 or 6 times, run the track once, and then repeat. Expect to have your ass kicked the first time but see results fast.
~The Wildcat Trails~
This is the best spot for a hiking type situation in Joplin. It is located at the south end of main street and honestly just google it up if you don’t know how to get there. There are some pretty intense climbing spots and in general it’s a beautiful woodsy experience. The full trail takes almost an hour too so you are sure to get a decent workout. It’s also a Pokestop (bless) if you like to Pokemon and Go whilst working on your fitness.
~Sunshine Walks Forever~
Yall are gonna think I’m crazy (I am) but if I have a day off and several hours to kill and the sun is shining, I will walk all over this got damn town. Aside from dealing with honks and cat callers, its actually pretty fun to walk across Joplin. For example, one time I walked from my house at 7th and Moffet all the way TO THE ACTUAL MALL and it was kinda fun finding the best route for walking. Many times I have left my car at a friends or the bar after a night of drinking and then walked to it the next day. Having a far off destination is more enjoyable for me than taking a few strolls around the block. You can also trace your steps on the Pacer app. Once I walked from 32nd and Rangeline to The Blackthorn to get my car and GIRL I had 30,000 steps that day! Pro-tip: wear comfortable shoes, probably don’t do this at night, expect to be cat called.