Posted in Blogging Marin on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 by MCVB Staff
By John Egan
No matter the time of year, Marin County delivers an array of outdoor opportunities, from attending concerts to strolling along beautiful beaches to hiking the area’s many trails. Yet if you’re yearning to be even more active (and adventurous), then why not relish the great outdoors and tackle a new sport in Marin?
With average high temperatures ranging from the upper 50s to the upper 70s, Marin affords an any-day-of-the-year chance to take a shot at learning a new outdoor sport.
We’ve assembled four options for sampling a new sport in Marin that appeal to a broad range of interests.
For the Leisure Enthusiast: Golf
Golf tees up more than just fun. Playing a round of golf also can offer several health benefits, including heart-pumping exercise, weight loss, stress reduction, improved sleep and even increased life expectancy.
According to the Golf Academy of America, walking an 18-hole golf course and carrying your bag can burn many as 1,500 to 2,000 calories.
“Obviously a hillier track will work you out more, but even on a flatter layout, a round of golf is still a walk of some six or seven miles, with an added weight of a couple dozen pounds distributed across your back and shoulders,” the Golf Academy says.
Fortunately, Marin provides a variety of courses where you can get into the swing of things — one hole at a time. At one of them, Peacock Gap Golf Club, a public course in San Rafael, golf lessons can be scheduled for men, women and children. A game of golf truly can be a family affair.
For the Animal Lover: Horseback Riding
Marin boasts plenty of splendid scenery and terrain for horseback riding. But while riding a horse enables you to see the sights of Marin in a new way, it also provides a number of other benefits. Among other things, horseback riding can help you get or stay in shape, trigger positive feelings like happiness, foster relaxation and enable you to bond with a majestic creature, according to the Certified Horsemanship Association.
“Riding a horse for 45 minutes at a walk, trot and canter can burn up to 200 calories,” Dennis Sigler, a professor of equine science at Texas A&M University, said. “If you do something a bit more strenuous such as cutting or reining, that can come out to nearly seven calories per minute for the entire length of the riding period.”
Located at Point Reyes National Seashore, Five Brooks Ranch in Olema teaches beginners how to ride a horse or more experienced riders how to improve their skills. Regardless of their skill level, visitors to Five Brooks Ranch can take advantage of the more than 120 miles of breathtaking trails at Point Reyes. This gives new meaning to the phrase “horsing around.”
For the Adrenaline Junkie: Kiteboarding
The popularity of kiteboarding, also known as kitesurfing, has taken off for thrill-seekers in Marin and elsewhere along the Pacific Coast.
Men’s Journal describes the “extreme” sport this way: “Kiteboarders strap themselves onto high-tech boards and then launch themselves out onto the surf propelled by their kite, slicing waves and acrobatically maneuvering off and on the water from a standstill up to speeds of 60 mph.”
Benefits of kiteboarding include keeping fit, improving heart health, relieving stress, improving coordination and balance and producing a “natural high.”
So, what if you want to pursue that “natural high” but don’t know a thing about kiteboarding? The folks at 101 Surf Sports in San Rafael can assist. From newbies to advanced kiteboards, 101 Surf Sports offers an instruction program certified by the Pan American Surf Association.
Literally and figuratively, 101 Surf Sports allows you to get your feet (and every other body part) wet when it comes to kiteboarding.
For the Explorer: Kayaking
Kayaking is one of the best ways to get out on the water and survey Marin from a different perspective. In addition, it lets you enjoy low-impact exercise, increase cardiovascular fitness, gain strength and immerse yourself in peacefulness. According to the American Council on Exercise, a 170-pound person can burn an estimated 578 calories during a 90-minute kayaking excursion.
“Bobbing around on a kayak offers a lot more than a relaxing way to spend a sunny afternoon,” HuffPost writes.
Regardless of whether your intent is to relax or get a good workout, you can’t simply jump in a kayak and take off if you’ve never done it. That’s where Point Reyes Outdoors comes in.
Instructors at Point Reyes Outdoors teach beginner- to advanced-level kayaking classes adapted from the American Canoe Association curriculum. And all of the classes, of course, are conducted at the Point Reyes National Seashore. That’s one gorgeous classroom.
Marin County has miles of open space horse trails, including horse campsites at Mount Tamalpais State Park and Samuel P. Taylor State Park. Equestrian Centers are in Fairfax...[Learn More]