An Active City

by DavalosMcCormack on October 1, 2008

Leading a healthy, active lifestyle isn’t easy. You need a lot of different things to work in your favor to succeed, from easy and affordable access to places where you can workout, to friends or family who support you. On Saturday I realized that if you wanted to choose a city that is almost perfect for helping make an active lifestyle easy, then San Francisco is that city.

I didn’t actually set out to prove that point. Originally I just set out to drive home from Lake Merced. But as I crossed the City it became increasingly clear just what a great place this is to be active.

I was at Lake Merced for Dragon Boat practice. There’s a huge international Dragon Boat festival at Treasure Island on October 4th & 5th and the company I work for has a boat for novices. That’s Shirley and me. We’ve never done it before but after one practice session we were addicted. It’s a lot of fun; and a lot of work. By the end of one hour you are out of breath, your arms and shoulders and hips and back are weary from effort. Also one of your buttocks is very sore from pressing it against the side of the boat as you paddle. That’s the first time I’ve had that as a sports injury!

As we left Lake Merced it was fun to see the sheer number of people of all ages, from high school kids to seniors, taking part in the event. And those who weren’t rubbing their buttocks were smiling.

As we left the sunny waters of the Lake and drove along the Great Highway the fog descended, thick and white, almost obscuring the waves on the beach. But it couldn’t obscure the almost endless procession of runners and walkers and bikers on the trail that runs along the road.

Some were running on their own or with a dog, others with a single companion, still more in were in large groups, part of Team in Training, preparing for a marathon. Many didn’t look in the best of shape, but they were all out there anyway, huffing and puffing and trying to get in shape.

In Golden Gate Park the sun broke through the fog but the picture was the same; lots of folks out striding or riding or even gliding on roller skates. At one point we had to sit at a ‘Stop’ sign for a minute as a girl’s soccer team crossed the road to play a game at the Polo Field.

Everywhere you looked people were being active, and it was a scene repeated in every neighborhood as we drove across town from the Haight to the Fillmore, over Pacific Heights (the people running up those hills were really working up a sweat) down to the Marina and Crissy Field.

 It was a truly inspiring sight. A City on the move, all headed in the same direction, towards a healthier lifestyle.

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