One of my favorite parts about living in Israel is how active and fit the people here are. From jogging along the shores of Tel Aviv’s prettiest beaches to biking through the winding city streets, people are constantly moving and enjoying every second of the outdoors. Being a fitness lover myself, this has been one of the easiest aspects of Israeli culture to incorporate into my daily routine. Having been in Israel for nearly three months now, here are some of the highlights of physical fitness throughout Israel.
Running: Whether it’s the constant sunshine or consistently breezy temps, running in Israel is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. HaYarkon Park and Tel Aviv’s boardwalk are my favorite places to run because of the beautiful scenery. There’s definitely something special about running parallel to the Mediterranean Sea for miles on end. I think it’s safe to say that I can truly appreciate the meaning of a “runner’s high” since I’ve been here. I’ve even been able to rack on a few extra miles to my daily runs because of this.
Biking: Like many metropolitan areas in the U.S., Tel Aviv has its own bike-rental system throughout the city called Tel-O-Fun. These green bike stations are located all across the city and in major parks and ports. With just the swipe of a card, you can rent a bike for the day and cruise all around Tel Aviv. The best part about the system is that you can return your bike to any hub at any point during the day. This definitely comes in handy when you want to make a pit stop for an afternoon snack at the shuk!
HaYarkon Park: Situated in the northern part of Tel Aviv, HaYarkon Park is considered the “Central Park” of Israel. With greenery that lasts for miles and a river that runs parallel to the bike and walking paths, the park is a hotspot for runners, bikers, boaters and children alike. The park also has an outdoor rock wall, soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts and a roller rink. On Saturday’s, the park even offers outdoor folk dancing classes for people to participate in throughout the day. With the endless opportunities of activities, it’s no wonder everyone here is in such great shape.
Outdoor Gyms: This is by far the coolest part of exercising here in Israel. All across the city on every boardwalk, beach and park lawn, outdoor gym equipment is available for the public’s use. The gyms are all the same and have workout equipment to target every part of the body- from calves to triceps. What makes the machines unique is the absence of physical weights or metal plates. That’s right, all of the work is done by using your body’s own resistance. Talk about a killer workout!
The Elite Sports Center: Affiliated with Tel Aviv University, this impressive complex is just down the road from the school and dorms. Equipped with Olympic swimming pools, weight rooms, spinning studios and much more, the gym is a popular place for students, adults and athletes living in the Ramat Aviv area. Wanting to take advantage of all that the center has to offer, I took a yoga class last month. This is something I’ll never forget. Aside from the entire class being taught in Hebrew, I was the youngest person there by at least 50 years! Not being able to understand the instructor’s directions was definitely a bit frustrating for me. Though the class was relaxing (deep breathing in the dark for 60 minutes), I’m still on the hunt for a yoga class that’s a bit more intensive. But hey, it’s all about the experience, right?