Bored by your fitness routine? Dropping the extra five (or more) holiday pounds doesn’t have to be a chore; Benicia is a town rich in fitness options on land and water. The trick is finding something that holds your interest over time, or the willingness to switch up your workout when it becomes routine.
Take Benicia couple Brett and Trisha Beard, who have an interesting way of blending fitness with staying connected through walking together. But not just the “walk out the front door and do a loop” kind of walk—the Beard’s have an unusual goal: they walk every street in Benicia. They do this every year, sometimes covering the entire town twice. Every street, every year. What’s even more impressive is that they both work demanding jobs; Brett is the produce manager at Safeway and Trisha is an administrator at an assisted living facility in Vallejo. The couple also has two children, ages 4 and 16, so their after-school activities are all-consuming. They don’t share a common day off either, so making the time for walking at this level is a constant challenge. But the couple is committed to staying fit. “We find a way,” say Brett.
With map in hand so that “they don’t miss a byway,” they pick an area and start walking, tracking their progress by highlighting the streets they’ve covered. They walk a minimum of 3-5 days a week, 3-5 miles per day. To mix it up, this year they are also tackling the alleys. “Sometimes we make a plan and sometimes serendipity takes over,” says Brett. “To date, we’ve also found over $60 on our walks. You’d be amazed at how much loose change there is out there.” They meet people and exchange stories; some folks are tracking their progress. Brett and Trisha love the variation in all of the neighborhoods, but their favorite area is the west side of downtown, where they enjoy the diverse architectural styles of the homes.
Another way to get the blood flowing is to take up “land paddling.” Essentially a “long board” with a tall, padded “stick” with which to push yourself along—a different spin on a traditional water sport. Land paddling can get you from point A to B quickly, combining transportation with exercise. And if you prefer the water, there are lots of choices in kayaking, paddle boarding and kite surfing. Chris Gatewood, owner of the new downtown store Benicia Kite and Paddle Sports, will fit you up with gear for your water sport of choice.
With everything from biking to bocce and kayaking to karate, you’ll find something that motivates for the long term. In Brett Beard’s words, “It has to become your lifestyle.”
Benicia Bicycle Club
Benicia Tennis Association
Benicia Outrigger Canoe Club
Benicia Golf Association
Benicia Day Hikers
Benicia Bocce Ball League