Panama Stories and Tips

Keeping in Shape in the Beach Community

Travel Photo by IgoUgo member

I'm a long-time gym rat. I love working out, and I love temperature control when I do it.

There is a gym in Coronado, but it is small and feels really crowded, even though there were only a few people in there when we visited. It was expensive, considering there aren't any fitness classes or anything, and we would have had to drive from where we live to get there. All in all it didn't seem like a great investment.

If you live in a condo complex, or certain housing developments, you will probably have a small but adequate (and rarely used) gym. I've got friends in various towers, and I've used these gyms on occasion and typically have them all to myself.

I'm determined enough to keep myself in shape without a regular gym, but in the past I have tended to get bored when I don't have a gym with some fitness class options. However, I'm so-far-so-good here in Panama, and this is why:

Beach volleyball! Check out my story about that. We play at least twice a week now, and it's so much fun. I volunteer to chase the ball and really dig into the sand as I come back up the little incline toward the court to get a little extra cardio boost.

Running. Now that we live in a house, we have a nice quiet neighborhood to run it. When we lived at Paraiso (see my review about that), I would run down that road, but it was full of traffic, the smell of burning foliage and garbage, and aggressive dogs. Now I run in peace. I have backed off my running schedule, because if you're not up and out the door by 6:00am it gets hot. Most of my runs occur around 8:00 or 9:00am, and it's plenty warm.

Pool. I'm not a great swimmer, nor am I a big fan of it, but I've started to really like water aerobics. I'm teaching a couple of classes, so I started messing around in the pool to get a better idea of what's hard and what's not, since I had never done water aerobics before. I love it! Even just pool running is a great workout, you can do it even during the hotter parts of the day, and pools are plentiful around here -- most houses and condo complexes have them.

Home workouts. My boyfriend and I both love using a kettlebell (which we found here at the store for about $25 -- good deal!), and as a yoga teacher I do a lot of yoga, anyway. I've actually given more attention to my yoga now that I'm not distracted by the gym, and it's a very good thing. You can find lots of workout equipment and sporting goods around here and in the city -- yoga mats cost as little as $10, and even our local Machetazo sells handweights, punching bags, bicycles, and more.

Classes. As I mentioned, I'm teaching a few, but there are others to be had. There's a woman who's been teaching Beach Fit on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for a couple of years on the beach near the Coronado Bay tower, and there's a yoga teacher who teaches from her home studio, El Litoral. I look forward to checking these out someday soon.

Walks on the beach. Beautiful sounds. Beautiful sights. Extra challenging for your feet and legs, but you don't even notice.

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