Staring at a computer screen all day long is bad for you. It’s bad for your eyes, it’s bad for your soul, and it’s bad for your health—especially if you're looking at the beautiful Charleston scenery just outside of your office window. If you've got a job that requires you to have a monitor stuck to your face all day, you probably have a decent amount of time for a lunch break as well. Take advantage of that time and get outside for a lunchtime workout. Twenty minutes of exercise is all you need to clear your head and feel completely rejuvenated.
“But RootsRated, there's no Planet Fitness that's close to my office!” Nonsense, if you think a big box gym is the only option for a quick, mid-day workout, we've got some excellent news for you. There are plenty of spots around town to get your exercise fix in that are outside, free or inexpensive, and fun all at the same time. Check these out:
A climbing gym with top-notch exercise equipment—what more do you need? The gym is on upper King Street in a funky little building complex. The best part about this combo is the ability to work out solving climbing problems, or go for a more traditional routine with free weights. Coastal Climbing offers a very modest monthly fee of around $50, or you can drop in for a measly $13. It may not be very economically efficient to go everyday, but burning those forearms and legs once a week at Coastal Climbing will give you results. It's fun as hell, too.
Cooper River Bridge
The Cooper River Bridge is a great route to run or bike. If you're pressed for time, just run halfway up the bridge and turn around. That's 2.5 miles, and considering how steep the incline is, it's basically running up the side of a mountain if you're coming from downtown. If you're riding your bike, sprint up the steep side of the bridge, make a right at the end of the path in Mount Pleasant, and circle around Patriots Point. Depending on where you work downtown, that makes an awesome 6 to 10 mile ride.
Big Work Fitness Factory
Big Work is a warehouse gym, and it’s awesome. Go here if you’ve got some serious steam to let out. They specialize in Olympic lifting equipment, and there are zero perfectly manicured, polo shirt wearing fitness instructors walking around offering towels or unwanted tips. Unless you ask for a trainer's help, no one is going to talk to you or interrupt your workout.
Big Work is located in between Meeting and East Bay Streets on the north end of the peninsula. It's the perfect gym for going in, killing a huge workout, and getting out in a hurry. There's also Revelry Brewing Co. right next door. We're not condoning drinking on the clock by any means, but, just sayin'...
Hampton Park is on the north end of the peninsula in an awesome part of town. A 1-mile long track surrounds the park with exercise equipment every .2 miles. Get your pull-ups, sit-ups, and crunches in while on your run. There are even a few stumps to throw in some box jumps. You also don't have to feel like "that guy" who works out at the park in front of everyone. Everyone else enjoying Hampton Park is doing the exact same thing. Bonus: Hampton Park has baseball/kickball/ultimate/football fields available to get a little more organized with your workouts, or to start a pick-up game during lunch.
If all you're looking for is a solid, lengthy run during your lunch break, head to King Street. King Street is the backbone of downtown, quite literally. It runs all the way down the center of the peninsula. Start at any point, and run straight to the Charleston Harbor at The Battery. It's a beautiful run, it's got some distance to it, and it's simple. Perfect for a lunchtime jog.