By Joanne Kelsay
I have always loved working out for as long as I can remember. I love all sorts of sports and especially those that are easily accessible and involve the outdoors. When I moved to Lucca last September I began looking around for options for staying active and fit. In Lucca I saw people walking, biking, roller blading, jogging, and doing yoga on or near the walls surrounding Lucca. Being an avid biker I quickly borrowed a bike and later purchased one. Biking has become my mode of transportation when I am not walking to and fro from my destination. I often bike to school, the stores, and along the many biking paths outside the city walls. Biking provides a wonderful way of staying fit and enjoying the outdoors.
As I continued to meet new friends in Lucca with similar interests, I learned about several hiking groups in and close by to Lucca. I signed up with G.R. Toscana Outdoor, Amici della Montagne Lucca, and a local group of women that hike every Thursday. Hiking, by definition, offers so many benefits to staying fit. It is a powerful cardio workout (benefits include lowering your risk of heart disease, improving blood pressure and blood sugar levels, bone density, building strength in your muscles and core) and also is a great way to enjoy nature, spend time with friends, and see some spectacular views! I have even learned a bit of Italian as many members of these groups are locals. There are a variety of hikes near Lucca and hikes for all levels. Investing in good shoes, poles or bastoncini da trekking, and a backpack are essential. I have hiked 15-20 kilometers and climbed 1000+ meters and am grateful for having the proper gear and attire. Part of staying fit is doing things you enjoy!