For anyone not excited by the prospect of working out in a gym, San Diego might be the perfect place to live. San Diegans pay an estimated 44 percent more to live in this fair city than the rest of the United States, so why not glean the rewards of living here and get outdoors while two thirds of the country are stuck inside, on the treadmill.
Mt. Helix residents have an edge on this already perfect climate by virtue of the fact that they reside in one of the most quaint corners of east county. To sweeten the deal further, this community is topped by one of the most iconic, aesthetic, public spaces in San Diego County, Mt. Helix Park.
A private, non-profit Park, the nearly century old 12-acre park is home to the notable, nature theatre, built in 1925 as a tribute to Mary Carpenter Yawkey by her children, Cyrus Carpenter Yawkey and Mary Yawkey White.
Open year-round and free to the public, it is the perfect destination point for an on-foot, out-of-doors workout. Beginning at the Park’s lower lots, located at the corner of Mt. Helix Drive and Vivera Drive, visitors are welcome to park their cars free of charge while visiting the Park which keeps seasonal hours that are listed on the website www.mthelixpark.org, but basically run from a half hour before sunset, to a half hour after sunset.
For fitness device enthusiasts, the step count from the lot to the Park’s memorial cross is approximately 1,500, and with an incline equaling roughly 28 floors, it’s a great way to warm up. Once at the top, the amphitheater itself is a virtual smorgasbord of options with 80 small steps leading to the stage or, for those wanting a bigger chal- lenge, the stone seats offer 41 larger steps to give you a really nice workout for the back of the legs and calves.
The steps or historic low-lying rock walls that surround the Park are ideal for incline pushups or quadricep lifts, but you may want to bring a towel, the stones can be a little rough on your palms.
For the ultimate cooldown experience, the quarter mile Yawkey Trail circles from the northern to the southern ends of the Park and offers a serene walk through the Park’s habitat restoration area, flanked by California native plants against a back drop of views as far east as El Capitan mountain.
End off with a drink from one of two water fountains located on either side of the stage and a seat in the theater for a final meditation, or contemplate the breath- taking views that reach all the way to Mexico.
For anyone who prefers a more structured workout, Helix Yoga offers donation-based, all-level yoga class at the Park on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.