We started this fitness series with local gyms and fitness studios in mind — the kind of specific small businesses that help define a neighborhood’s wellness bent. But one of Birmingham’s best fitness secret isn’t a business at all; it’s Get Healthy on the Railroad at Railroad Park. If you live Parkside, in the Loft District, or even in the northern sections of Five Points South, this is a seriously wonderful neighborhood fitness amenity.
All year long the park is open to walkers, joggers, and those interested in body weight exercises on the park’s west side equipment. It may be cold and rainy some days, but it’s always there and always free. (Though the park definitely accepts donations to help fund the upkeep on this jewel of a public/private partnership.)
From April through October, though, the park offers weeknight group fitness classes that are free to the entire city, courtesy of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. The park’s website has full class descriptions, but we’ve distilled them to a quick guide. Want high-energy music and fun choreography? Try Jazzercise and Zumba. Looking to work on your personal running program? Get help at Happy Feet. Relax with Yoga on the lawn, or rev up your week at Boot Camp. All classes start at 6 p.m.
We like that Boot Camp and Happy Feet can give you ideas for independent fitness pursuits at the park, which comes in handy during the class off-season. And while the yoga classes may not be as hands-on as a local studio could offer, can you think of a more beautiful place to practice?
There’s no exclusivity to the atmosphere at Railroad. It’s the ultimate example of Parkside’s healthy neighborhood branding by making fitness accessible to everyone: You simply show up, sign up, and work out. With the park and Region’s Field at its core, this neighborhood is more or less the playground of the city. Living here means it’s in your own backyard.