5 Ways to Celebrate Freedom on the Fourth of July

Photo Courtesy of Harvard Pilgrim 10K
The Fourth of July is the perfect holiday to celebrate our freedom to run, walk and be active. Here are a few fun activities the whole family can enjoy:

Run or Walk a Local Fourth of July Race

It is a fantastic way to get in a few miles before the picnic festivities begin and an honorable way to thank the veteran and active duty military for giving us the freedom to move when we want, where we want. From fun walks to kids runs, there is something for everyone. Sign up for a Fourth of July event.

Take a Hike

Pack a backpack and take a hike on a trail you haven't explored. It's the perfect way to add a little adventure--and scenery--to your exercise program. Every hike is different and can develop your balance, strength and a great sense of focus. It's also great for relieving stress.

Find Yourself

Learn how to use a map and compass at a local orienteering event. A Foot-O is a timed event in which participants start in staggered intervals and use a map and compass to find Control Points (flags) on the map. The courses range from two to six miles and include va ariety of courses for beginners (flags are on a trail) to advanced (flags are in the brush). It's a fun activity to do with the kids and a great workout for your mind and body. Learn more at http://www.us.orienteering.org/ or find an event near you.

Trail Running Race

Register for a local trail race. You'll have the benefit of running a race and finishing with a picnic all in one setting. Every step is unique and offers a mental challenge with less impact on the body. You'll finish the race fatigued, but refreshed and connected to the trails and nature again.

Create Your Own Amazing Race

Create an adventure in your own backyard. Find and print a map of your neighborhood. Mark four to six checkpoints with a red X (the treasure) on the map. Leave a special treasure in a box at each checkpoint. Create teams of two, pass out a map and pen and have them guess the amount of time it will take to finish (write it down). Stagger the start with one team starting every two to three minutes. Have them write down what is in each box. The team that writes down all the treasures correctly and come closest to their predicted finish times wins a special prize. It's a great way to balance out speed and everyone will have a ball. Costumes are a welcome addition.

No matter what your plans are for the Fourth of July, take time to enjoy your freedom and appreciate the people who made--and continue to make--it possible.

Coach Jenny Hadfield is the co-author of the best-selling Marathoning for Mortals, and the new Running for Mortals and Training for Mortals series. Coach Jenny has trained thousands of runners and walkers with her training plans. Improve your running performance or train for your first race with Coach Jenny's Active Trainer Program.

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