Fun, unconventional outdoor exercises around central Ohio

(WBNS 10TV Molly Brewer)

COLUMBUS – School may be weeks away but the summer isn’t over yet. For anyone late to sign up for a summer workout class, don’t sweat it.

10TV checked out some of the best free workouts available outside right here in central Ohio.


“If you want to get better balance, you want to get more strength in your legs and your core, it’s a really great workout and it’s fun,” said Caroline Wagner with the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks.

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Prairie Oaks Metro Park is one location that offers the lessons in the skills needed to paddle board or kayak, among other activities designed to get people outside.

“The nice part about coming out here and doing a program is you don’t have to worry about bringing your equipment into the park,” said Melissa Turpening, an outdoor adventure program coordinator for the Metro Parks. “We’ll have it all here ready for you and we’re dedicated to this. We want to make sure that you have a positive experience so we’re going to teach you all kinds of important things.”

Register for a program at the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks by clicking here.


In fact, Central Ohio is home to seemingly endless resources for anyone ready to break a sweat.

If a daily run isn’t cutting it anymore, give the 116 steps at Alum Creek State Park a try, or add in trail and open water to train for a triathlon.

“You’re out here in the beautiful outdoors with birds chirping and the sky is great and you have the sun so it’s just a better experience altogether and people come out here and it’s kind of just like a sense of partnership,” said Jenna Landuyt, a naturalist aid with ODNR. “Everyone’s up there running up and down the stairs and putting in the time together.”

Learn more about the opportunities available at Alum Creek State Park or find the nearest park to where you live by clicking here.


Some have decided to take their fitness in a new direction entirely by hiking off-trail.

“The paths are great, the trails are amazing, things are really well marked, but stepping off the trail opened up a different world for us,” said Stacia Kuceyeski.

Kuceyeski, along with her coworker and friend, Elizabeth, started walking the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks with the intent to do something physical during the winter months.

That’s until they learned visitors can leave the trail.

“For more, the going off-trail is actually what kind of transitioned our Metro Parks walks from strict fitness to something that was a little bit deeper,” Kuceyeski said.

The Metro Parks Board established a resolution allowing anyone to explore off-trail as long as they’re not in designated nature preserves, which are marked on available maps.

The resolution was inspired by the late Park Board Commissioner, Robert “Tad” Jeffrey, to honor Jeffrey’s commitment to the Metro Parks.

“Part of it is almost like a metaphor for life, right? We can always walk along the trail that’s been laid out or we can see what’s there when we go around this corner, walk off the path, go down by the water,” said Kuceyeski. “What’s going to be next? And I think that’s what’s exciting about going off trail.”

Learn more about going off-trail at the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks by clicking here.