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6 Healthy Destinations Perfect for Kicking Off the New Year

1/18/17 by Matt Wastradowski

We’ve officially hit the point when we can (mercifully) put 2016 in the rear view mirror, kick the holiday hangover, and get serious about our New Year’s Resolutions.

Fortunately, we’re never far from great wintertime destinations that offer opportunities for healthy living and a little fun along the way. Whether it’s riding a sporty bike around Portland or relaxing with a spa treatment in scenic Utah, here are six healthy places to kick start your New Year’s Resolutions this year.

1. Pedal Around Portland.

Also known as Biketown USA, Portland now has a robust bike sharing system perfect for touring on two wheels.
Also known as Biketown USA, Portland now has a robust bike sharing system perfect for touring on two wheels. JKehoe_Photos

Portland has long been known as Biketown USA. In spring 2016, the city made it official and unveiled the Biketown bike share system. With 1,000 bikes available at 100 stations throughout the heart of Portland, you’re never far from your next ride.

The sturdy Biketown bikes have a step-through frame and adjustable seat posts for easy, comfortable rides to Portland’s scenic parks, including Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Laurelhurst Park. The bikes are suited for riders of all experience levels, and single-ride trips and day passes are available for out-of-town visitors.

2. Practice Your Lotus Pose in San Francisco.

San Franciso has plenty of places to practice your yoga poses, both indoor and out.
San Franciso has plenty of places to practice your yoga poses, both indoor and out. Mish Sukharev

Some of the country’s first yoga studios opened in San Francisco in the early 1950s, and it remains a top yoga destination today, with studios throughout the city (and the rest of the Bay Area). No matter which neighborhood you’re in, you’re almost guaranteed to see a someone with a yoga mat slung over his or her shoulder.

Looking to relax with a quick yoga session? Here, a few recommended places:

Yoga to the People works to make yoga accessible for all interested practitioners. Classes are offered by donation, and organizers promise a judgment-free zone for intimidated newbies.

Moxie takes a practical, straightforward approach to yoga. Classes are offered to newbies and experts alike, without spiritual or philosophical instruction. Class sizes are kept to 20 or fewer students, ensuring a personal approach and comfortable environment.

Yoga Tree has locations throughout the city, with a variety of classes to suit all skill levels, from excellent pre- and post-natal classes to those that use wall ropes to relaxing options like therapeutic or candlelit yoga. Yoga Tree also offers dozens of workshops on a variety of topics throughout the year.

Don’t forget about San Francisco International Airport, which makes it easy to unwind (literally) from that cramped airline seat after a long flight. The airport now has two yoga rooms—one in Terminal 2, which was the first of its kind, and the other in Terminal 3—that are the perfect place to combat some of the inherent stresses of travel. Finally, don’t be afraid to relax into a posture in the great outdoors, as San Francisco’s many outdoor spaces invite communing with nature.

3. Enjoy the Boulder Outdoors.

With endless opportunities for exploration, Boulder is an outdoors mecca no matter when you visit.
With endless opportunities for exploration, Boulder is an outdoors mecca no matter when you visit. Ed Ogle

For thousands of visitors every year, it’s impossible not to be charmed and inspired by Boulder’s stunning scenery and holistic commitment to healthy living. Hardcore adventurers have no shortage of ways to stoke the adrenaline year-round—from backcountry skiing in the winter to mountain biking in warmer weather—but active types looking for something a little more low-key have plenty of options, too.

In the winter, powder junkies love to hit the area’s world-renowned slopes (after all, there’s a good reason Warren Miller’s production company is based in Boulder, as are two skiing magazines.). Other fun winter options include a downtown ice skating rink. When there’s no snow, the town is equally impressive for its outdoor offerings, with a head-spinning array of opportunities for hiking, biking (the city has more than 300 miles of bike paths and bike lanes), rock climbing, and paddling. Meanwhile, nearly a dozen spas promise facials, mani-pedis, saunas, hot tubs, massages, and other treatments treatments—a worthy reward for getting after it outdoors.

4. Get the Spa Treatment in Park City, Utah.

Park City has plenty of spas perfect for relaxing after a long day outdoors.
Park City has plenty of spas perfect for relaxing after a long day outdoors. TopRank Marketing

Park City is known for the Sundance Film Festival and world-class skiing, but the mountain town also is home to many extravagant spas, which boast a staggering variety of treatments. A few recommended places:

Remède Spa, located in the St. Regis Deer Valley resort, offers a myriad services, several of which use techniques based on American Indian traditions. Relax with a facial, skincare enhancement, body treatment, massage, mani-pedi, body wax, private yoga session, or personal training session.

Align Spa is the oldest spa in Park City, open since 2002, with 11 treatment rooms that promote healthy living in all of its forms. Visitors can choose from massages, four-layer facial treatments, chiropractic care, body treatments, mineral makeup, acupuncture, and other options.

The Spa at Hotel Park City invites visitors to unwind with saunas, meditation rooms, and a heated outdoor pool with excellent views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can pamper themselves with a soothing stone massage, a soak in the hydrotherapy tub, a refreshing body wrap, or rejuvenating aromatherapy service.

The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge has a special emphasis on easing sore muscles from days spent on the slopes—think a ski-boot relief massage. Visitors also can relax in front of one of the lodge’s 145 stone fireplaces or take yoga classes, offered in the morning and evening.

5. Relax with a Soak at Hot Springs National Park.

Hot Springs National Park is home to restorative hot springs and bathhouses that date back to the late 1800s.
    Jake Wheeler
Hot Springs National Park is home to restorative hot springs and bathhouses that date back to the late 1800s. Jake Wheeler

There are few better ways to shake off winter’s chill while rejuvenating the body than by relaxing in a hot spring. For a unique and historic soaking experience, head to Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. The park is home to Bathhouse Row, which encompasses eight bathhouse buildings constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Two remain operational—Buckstaff Baths and Quapaw Baths & Spa—boasting an average temperature of 143°F. Learn more about the region’s unique hot springs history with a trip to Fordyce Bathhouse, which closed in 1962 but serves as a museum and the park’s visitor center today.

6. Realign Your Chakras in Sedona, AZ.

Sedona is known for its spiritual vibe and red rock formations.
Sedona is known for its spiritual vibe and red rock formations. Coconino National Forest

The term "vortex" is commonly associated with whirling tornadoes and heavy winds. But a trip to Sedona's numerous vortex sites, flanked by stunning red rock formations, can quiet even the most unsettled mind.

Vortex sites, for the uninitiated, are believed to be areas where the earth’s energy flow is conducive to prayer, meditation, spiritual guidance, and healing in ways that scientists are just beginning to understand. A handful of vortexes are located in and around town, helping seekers better connect with their spiritual energy.

Yet vortexes are just the beginning in Sedona. The town is known for its spirituality and holistic approach to mental health, with myriad spots that offer body treatments that go way beyond massage, from chakra alignment to meditation-based therapy.

Originally written by RootsRated for ExOfficio.