Plan a Saturday ‘eScape’ to fitness

Jumpstart your summer downtown at RiverScape

By Amy Forsthoefel
Photo: eScape with Yoga at RiverScape MetroPark on Saturdays this summer; photo credit: Joseph Craven Photography

Looking for a new way to get fit this summer? Five Rivers MetroParks has launched “Saturday eScapes” – a whole new Saturday morning scene at RiverScape MetroPark to help you get out and get active.

The core of Saturday eScapes is fitness programming. Sessions are held outdoors under the pavilion.

– Certified yogi Tori Reynolds leads Yoga in the Park. Reynolds will guide you along your journey in the open air. Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years and offers health benefits by enabling you to develop your flexibility, strength and balance.

– Zumba in the Park will motivate you to move your way to wellness. Certified personal trainer and fitness instructor Camela Douglass leads this exercise party! Zumba is a great alternative to traditional fitness programs. It motivates you to get up and get moving with its signature Latin music beat.

“These are fun and effective workouts,” shared Brent Anslinger, Program Operations Manager at Five Rivers MetroParks. “The fitness classes are offered at 10 a.m. most Saturdays this summer and are open to anyone – from the beginner to the advanced. Best of all, they are free,” he added. Visit for a complete schedule. Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and bring water for any of the fitness classes.

Fitness classes at RiverScape MetroPark are a great way to enjoy a workout outside. Summer outdoor workouts provide several bonuses:

– Enjoy fresh, clean air and less exposure to germs.

– Exercise on all types of terrain to strengthen your body more effectively and prevent injury.

– No waiting in line for equipment.

– No cost and it comes with a dose of Vitamin D!

Research shows that the visual stimulation that outdoor exercise offers makes you work out harder and boosts your mood and self-esteem. A recent study found that outdoor physical activity had a 50 percent greater positive effect on mental health than going to the gym.

Fitness classes aren’t the only activity going on during Saturday eScapes. Cycling has become an increasingly popular activity at RiverScape and in Dayton, in general. Bicycling, along with being the most efficient mode of human locomotion, is also one of the best all-around activities for improving our health. From head to toe, cycling’s health benefits are hard to beat:

– Cycling is one of the easiest ways to exercise.

– Cycling builds strength and muscle tone.

– Cycling builds stamina.

– Cycling improves coordination.

– Cycling eats up calories.

The staff at MetroParks encourages you to ride your bike into RiverScape, the “cyclelogical” center of the largest connected bikeway network in the country. The park is at the heart of this system of over 330 miles of paved recreational trails, so cyclists can pedal to RiverScape from throughout the Miami Valley on these multi-use trails in a safe and nature-filled environment.

The Great Miami River Bikeway stretches continuously along the Great Miami River from RiverScape – north to Troy and south to Franklin – for a total of 63 miles, with additional trail sections beyond. From the east, riders can approach RiverScape on the Mad River Bikeway, which will connect to Wright Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State University with a new extension opening June 21 at Eastwood MetroPark. For a complete trail system map visit

Once you arrive at RiverScape, the bike hub provides bike parking, drinking fountains, restrooms and even a tire pump and bike repair station.

Don’t have a bike? From now through Labor Day, you can rent one at RiverScape’s Ride the River Rentals. A variety of bicycles are available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., including Sundays. Options include road bikes, hybrids, tandems, youth bikes and a host of child attachments. There’s something fun to do for the whole family.

Kayak rentals are also available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays only, in conjunction with Whitewater Warehouse. Dress to get wet for this great adventure! Kayaking isn’t just fun – it’s also a great form exercise, offering stress reduction, weight loss and, certainly, muscle toning for the upper body.

Eating right helps you feel better, too. RiverScape now offers a healthy breakfast to start your Saturday in the right direction. The Silver Fern Café opens at 9 a.m. with omelets and a variety of smoothies featuring seasonal fruit blended with yogurt. The café also serves up healthy lunch options until 3 p.m., including salads, wraps and more amidst live acoustic music from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by local acts. Grab a bite and relax amid the beautiful landscape gardens, flowering pots, hanging baskets and reflecting pools of RiverScape.

You can make a day of it downtown with shopping at the 2nd Street Market. Located just a few blocks away from RiverScape and easily accessible by bike or on foot, you’ll find local, fresh food options to stock up from for the work week and keep the whole family eating well.

Saturday vendors feature farm-fresh chicken, pork, bison, goat, lamb and eggs along with locally pasteurized milk, cheese and yogurt, and, of course, seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs.

Five Rivers MetroParks invites you to make an eScape this weekend and enjoy what your parks have to offer.

Reach DCP freelance writer Amy Forsthoefel at

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