Before I lived in Minneapolis, I was a takeout kind of person. Not that half-ass vegetarian, “I’m going to go easy tonight, order salad on the side,” kind of takeout either. We’re talking the full Monty, extra carbs on my carbonara, sauce-stuffed, beef-loaded, Italian and Chinese every other night kind of takeout eater. But when I arrived in the Midwest, something changed. I like to pretend it was my own grit and self-start attitude that made me begin to live a healthy lifestyle, but the more apt explanation is my metabolism which, in my twenties, is beginning to slow. I thought we had more of a ride or die thing going, but hey, we all have to adopt sometime.

I began to put on the pounds and realized that my takeout habits and lack of exercise were slowing me down in more ways than one. Not only was I having to buy new clothes I couldn’t afford in order to make them fit, I was feeling tired all the time, sluggish, foggy, like my brain couldn’t grasp complex ideas the way I used to be able to. I started reading about nutrition and health, and what I found was astounding. According to the CDC, up to 40 percent of annual deaths from the five leading US causes are preventable. Heart disease, one of those leading causes of death, is caused by high blood pressure, high cholesterol, poor diet, being overweight, and lack of physical activity. I began to envision myself at age 60 if I continued to power through life on my current habits.

That scare was enough to make me try something different, but how my dietary and activity changes made me feel is what’s kept it going. I feel less depressed and complacent like I have more power over my decisions. I’m no longer sleepy or foggy in the middle of the day. Being able to fit into my old clothes is just an added bonus and I’m happy to say, my cholesterol is squeaky clean. And I didn’t have to break the bank to do it. Groupon has been a huge help, both in finding affordable fitness classes here in Minneapolis and exploring things to do that are fun as well as active. If you’re looking to try on a more active lifestyle but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few of the places I tried out and truly enjoyed.

Unlimited Month of Classes at Heart Yoga

Most monthly memberships at a premier yoga studio will run you $180-$200. Not only is this less than that ($29 for the Groupon), but even after the Groupon runs out you can get a monthly membership for $99. I’m not someone who is great at self-motivating in the gym, so Heart Yoga was perfect for me because they offered group classes that were accessible for a newbie, but difficult enough to strengthen my body and leave me sweating.

Intro to Pole Course at Knockout Bodies

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re not trying to learn how to striptease. Trust me on this and try out this intro series. The instructors can deadlift their entire bodyweight while looking elegant and sexy, something I may never be able to do, but I’m closer now than I ever was before. Pole fitness is a lot more like acrobatics than pole dancing and will whip you into shape without making your lungs feel like they’re collapsing.

Cycling Classes at The Firm

Personal opinion: cycling classes are a special kind of hell. You’re surrounded by people eager to shout and scream whenever they up their resistance on this stationary bike, there’s usually music blasting, the room is dark, and the instructor has a maniacal smile pasted to their sweaty face the entire time. Somehow, The Firm was different. The instructor was encouraging without being militant, the folks next to me were competitive in a friendly way, and I didn’t get yelled at when I stopped pedaling to grab some water. Even better, I was sweating bullets by the end. This Groupon is great because two months to use your five-class pass. It was perfect in conjunction with the slower yoga I was taking and helped me get into a new fitness rhythm that included both high intensity and low-intensity activity.

Adventure Walk Around Minneapolis

I wish I’d found this when I first moved to the city, but it was just as fun to explore with a family who came to visit. For about two hours, you and your crew take to the streets with your smartphones in hands and when prompts appear, work to decode them to figure out where to go. Find the checkpoints and answer questions or perform amusing tasks to move on. To win the game, reach King/Queen status. It’s a great way to get to know the city in an active way, and it keeps the family occupied between meals.

About The Author:

My name is Haley. I love to read, write, and travel. In my spare time, I can be found hiking or be soaking up the outdoors. Living healthy is extremely important to me and I hope it becomes more important to others after reading my articles.


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