It's never too late to get healthier. If you’re looking to include more exercise, outdoor time or healthy food into your 2021 routine, Houston has everything you need to accomplish your goals. Keep reading to find out more about H-Town restaurants, markets, fitness classes, and outdoor spaces that will help you lead a healthy lifestyle this year.
Hit the Ground Running
With close to 53,000 acres of green spaces, many of which have paths and trails perfect for your run, Houston is great for runners. A popular destination is Buffalo Bayou Park, where the Houston skyline and public art serve as your backdrop as you log in the miles. Other popular choices for runners are Memorial Park, Hermann Park, and, in West Houston, Terry Hershey Park. Houston also has a number of running groups, such as the Houston Area Road Runners Association and Kung Fu Running Club, that can help you get started and stay motivated.
Prefer biking? Most of these Houston outdoor spaces are also popular among bikers, so hop on that bike and get pedaling.
Get Fit for Free
While Houston has plenty of gyms and workout studios for you to choose from, visitors and locals should take advantage of the array of free and low-cost fitness classes offered around the city. Barre, Zumba, Tai Chi, yoga and Krav Maga are among the free classes offered weekly at Levy Park. At Discovery Green in downtown Houston, you’ll find a rotating calendar of free fitness classes like yoga and tai chi, as well as health talks and fitness events. Some local studios offer low-cost classes. At Black Swan Yoga, a donation-based yoga studio with three locations in Houston, yogis can work out virtually or in person for whatever they can give.
Houston is well known for its good eats and you don’t have to sacrifice good flavor if you’re trying to stay healthy. The city is home to many restaurants that cater to diners with food sensitivities, plant-based diets or simply those who want a meal prepared with fresh, unprocessed ingredients. Chains such as True Food Kitchen, Sweetgreen and Flower Child are always good options, but there are plenty of locally owned restaurants to choose from. Dish Society and Local Foods are locally grown chains that serve healthy foods at reasonable prices. For something more unique, Vibrant in Montrose serves visually stunning dishes free of dairy, gluten and refined sugars, and breads, nut milks and cheeses all made from scratch. If you’re vegan, Verdine in the Heights dishes out seriously good plant-based eats like Southern mac and cheese and burgers.
Stock up your pantry with locally sourced ingredients by shopping at Houston’s farmers markets and cooperatives. On Saturdays, buy fresh produce, aquaponic lettuces, artisanal pastas and pasture-raised meats at Urban Harvest’s Eastside Farmers Market in River Oaks. On the west side of town, the Memorial Villages Farmers Market offers an array of locally made products and produce. You can also check out Central City Co-Op, an organic co-op and farmers market, which recently opened at a new location in the Heights, and Pat Greer’s Kitchen, a tiny shop in a Montrose home that sells its own kombucha, crackers and prepared vegan foods to go.
Spend Time Outdoors
Spending time outdoors has been shown to have health benefits. If you’re not into running or biking, you can still take advantage of Houston’s mostly outdoor friendly weather and outdoor spaces. Go for a hike at Memorial Park’s trails or walk around the new Houston Botanic Garden. Better yet, take a trip to one of the hiking areas just outside of Houston, or take your picnic blanket to the green area at The Menil Collection and take in some vitamin D. Even if you’re not exerting yourself, spending some time outdoors will help your physical and mental wellbeing.