Health and wellness start with good intentions at home. We all want to commit to healthy habits, but finding ways to stay active, have fun, and remain within our budgets can be challenging. It’s not always easy to fold healthy into our days!

Independent Health and the Independent Health Foundation work with a variety of local partners around Western New York to offer easy access to healthy activities, while building stronger communities in the process. From bikeshares to fitness classes and wellness walks, there is no shortage of ways to combine fitness and fun.

Here are six ways Independent Health supports wellness in Western New York:

1. Try a new fitness class

Finding time to exercise can be a challenge. Independent Health has you covered whether you want to workout at home year-round or take advantage of Fitness in the Parks during the summer months. The Health Hub offers on-demand fitness videos that make it easy and fun for you and your family to engage from the comfort of your home. During the summer months, Fitness in the Parks, presented by Independent Health and the YMCA, offer free outdoor fitness classes open to all ages and skill levels at parks across Western New York – from Olcott to Jamestown and all points in between!

2. Go for a bike ride

Whether you want to get some fresh air on the commute to work or school or take a leisurely roll through a local park, riding a bike is an easy way to incorporate exercise into your day. Reddy Bikeshare has 400 Reddy bikes parked at 100 stations across Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Wherever you go, it’s a great way to get healthy, have fun, and explore our region by bike. Independent Health members receive discounts on Reddy Bikeshare memberships.

3. Explore Buffalo’s waterfront

Independent Health’s Wellness Trail stretches 3-miles from Wilkeson Pointe to Lakeside Bike Park, providing scenic views and peace of mind while you exercise along beautiful views of Lake Erie and our natural shoreline. Take advantage of a Reddy Bikeshare station to roll along the trail or grab your sneakers for a walk or run. Then, give your mind a well-deserved break by catching the sunset views over the lake.  

4. Kayak along Buffalo’s waterways

Speaking of Lake Erie, Buffalo’s waterways are an important part of the region’s history and continue to play a starring role in recreational opportunities for Western New Yorkers and visitors to the area. That’s why Independent Health offers discounts on kayak rentals at both the Outer Harbor and Buffalo Riverworks. Kayaking is a low-impact activity, working both your heart and your muscles. Not only is it easy on your joints, but it’s easy on your mind – spending time on the water can be good for your mental health.

5. Spend a little time in nature

Thursday mornings feature Wellness Walks at Tifft Nature Preserve. All ages are encouraged to attend these free weekly walks with a knowledgeable volunteer to guide you. Getting your steps in while on the trails not only gives you a cardiovascular boost, but time spent in nature has been shown to help reduce anxiety and boost creativity and memory.

6. Get some healthy eats

It can be challenging to take your good nutrition intentions out to dinner. The Independent Health Foundation’s Healthy Options program makes it a little easier and keeps ordering fun. Just look for the round red sticker on the menu to find items certified by Independent Health Foundation nutritionists. Check out the list of  participating restaurants online when planning your next bite to eat. During the summer months, look for that Healthy Options sticker at Food Truck Tuesdays at Larkin Square, because summer fun doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your healthy eating goals!

Photo: Camylla Battani on Unsplash