The holidays are a time to eat, drink, and be merry. The one drawback is the added weight that usually comes along with such eating, drinking, and general merriment. Luckily, the Bay Area affords a multitude of opportunities to work off those extra pounds. With the temperate climate and lack of true seasons in California, the outdoors are always available for exercise, even in January.
Crown Road Trail, Kentfield
For jogging enthusiasts and dog owners, this set of fire roads overlooking the whole of the Ross Valley in Marin County is the place. Several different circuits are available, from the slightly strenuous to the straight uphill. Dogs and humans both need exercise, and this affords the perfect opportunity for owners and pets to stay in shape after the holidays. Since the Bay Area always has temperate weather, there will surely be a day or two of sunshine this winter to enjoy these scenic trails.
Stinson Beach Triathlon
Hardcore workout junkies who partied a bit too hard can endure this rewarding yet grueling self-guided triathlon at the gorgeous Stinson Beach. From the peak of Mount Tam, cyclists can enjoy the picturesque ride over rolling hills down to the beach, where a 2-mile sand run is followed by an extremely brisk and refreshing swim in the Pacific Ocean. The water is nearly freezing year-round, so the New Year temperatures aren't anything unusual.
Angel Island Journey
What's better than an island getaway that lasts only a few hours? For those wanting to escape from it all for an afternoon, a quick ferry ride to Angel Island is the perfect workout escape. The twisting trails up, down, and around the island provide a variety of difficult hikes, and cyclists can also enjoy the mountain roads on two wheels. It's the perfect way to evade returning to work and also a way to fight off the holiday calories.
Golden Gate Bridge Circuit
The Golden Gate Bridge is typically overrun by tourists, but did you know that running over the bridge is the perfect amount of exercise? The 2.5-mile round trip from the Marin scenic overlook and back is the perfect amount of time and distance to get the heart rate going and also avoid freezing oneself in the constant fog and occasional January rain. Forty-five minutes usually gets the job done, though avoiding tourists can add on a few (but also help shed a few more pounds).
Sausalito Bike Ride
For the out-of-towner or wannabe tourist for a day, bike rentals are the perfect solution. Bikes can be rented on the San Francisco side of the bridge. A lovely ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and down into the picturesque bayside town of Sausalito is only a few short miles. After enjoying the shops and restaurants, the ride back up to the bridge is strenuous but very rewarding for those feeling guilty about December overeating.
Jared Feldman is a Marin County native and exercise junkie, especially after New Year's.