You're going to perspire this summer. A lot. Sometimes just stepping out the front door in St. Louis is enough to cause your sweat glands to spew like Old Faithful. Sure, you could run back into the air conditioning. But to do so is to surrender. And we St. Louisans are a tougher lot than that. Besides, sweating is actually good for you: It removes toxins from the body (according to the 28 seconds of scientific research put into this article). So go ahead and break a sweat this summer with some of the following fun, outdoor activities.
Fruit picking: Traversing through peach fields at Eckert's Orchards (951 South Green Mount Road; Belleville, Illinois) in the summer heat can be quite taxing, but the rewards far outweigh the work. At Eckert's, strawberry season begins in May, blackberries ripen mid-June through July, peaches are ready for the picking early July through early August, and apples begin to ripen in early August, too. After a trek through the fruit fields, relax at its Orchard Cafe & Grill or Eckert's Country Kitchen: Both incorporate the farm's fresh fruit and produce into menu items. Eckert's also offers a bakery and custard shop, as well as a country store and garden center, if you'd like to buy additional produce or grow your own.
Outdoor yoga: Yoga serves to calm and strengthen mind and body, and in warmer months, nothing complements Vinyasa quite like stretching in the great outdoors. Now through September 28, the South City Family YMCA hosts free hourlong yoga classes on the grounds under the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis every Saturday at 9 a.m. Students who register online can also receive free parking in the Gateway Arch garage. For more information, visit www.gatewayarch.com.
Obstacle courses: Marathon running is a traditional way to put your body through its paces, while the Tough Mudder simply obliterates them. It lays out a ten- to twelve-mile obstacle course designed by the British Special Forces, all the while trudging through the dirt and mud. Challenge yourself this year when Tough Mudder comes to Shamrock One (1416 County Road 1053; Montgomery City), a healthy 90-minute drive west of St. Louis, on Saturday, September 14, and Sunday, September 15. Proceeds from the Tough Mudder benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Registration ranges from $115 to $180. For more information, visit www.toughmudder.com. Two weeks later the Warrior Dash (950 State Hwy 00; Wright City), offers a similar muddy obstacle-course run an hour outside of St. Louis. The dash begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 28, with thirteen waves of 500 competitors fighting to conquer the 3.17-mile course. Challenges at Warrior Dash boast menacing names such as "Warrior Roast," "Cliff Hanger," "Road Rage" and "Petrifying Plunge" -- just to name a few. Registration includes the entry fee, complimentary beer, a fuzzy warrior helmet and a Warrior Dash T-shirt, medals for winners and more. Entry costs $50 to $80. For more information, visit www.warriordash.com.
Next up: Boating/biking under the stars and more.