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Discover Fun, Fitness, and Friendships

Once the holiday season is over, many of us start to feel bored, restless, and maybe even depressed. You may have resolved to get in better shape this year, or lose weight, or simply become more active to feel better overall. The good news is there are plenty of exciting options right here in Kingsport.

Pickleball

The fun game with the funny name, pickleball, is blowing up in popularity throughout the country. Although it’s been around for decades, pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in America, growing by 21.3% between 2019 and 2020.

Anna Walters is the USA Pickleball Ambassador for Sullivan County and president of the Tri-Cities’ only pickleball club, PIVOT (Pickleball in Virginia or Tennessee). “The best way to start is to take a lesson,” Walters says. “That could be from a friend or family member who plays or from someone who gives lessons.”

Walters offers free introductory lessons and teaches the sport at the Kingsport Senior Center.

Several pickleball courts have opened up locally:

All you need to start is a pickleball paddle and a ball. “However, for beginners, usually the instructor can lend you the needed equipment – until you get hooked!” Walters says.

Adult Social League

For those who want to tap into their competitive streak while having fun and meeting new people, TNT Sportsplex offers an Adult Social League with games on Sunday evenings.

TNT’s tentative schedule of upcoming leagues includes:

  • January/February – Volleyball (hurry – the deadline to register your team is Jan. 3!)
  • February/March – Wiffleball
  • March/April – Cornhole

For all Adult Social League sports, you can either enter your own team or enlist as a free agent. Teams of only 2-3 people can add a player from the list of free agents. Leagues last 5-6 weeks and sports change every 7-8 weeks.

TNT Sportsplex
600 E. Main St., Kingsport
423.392.0596
info@tntsportsplex.com

Personal Training

For a customized approach to overall wellness, a personal trainer can be a great option.

Certified personal trainer Beth Barnette of Gracious Fitness Coaching says, “I help clients take care of some of the details in their health and fitness so they can slowly, steadily, and consistently move toward the healthy lifestyle they deeply desire, even when life gets crazy.”

Barnette encourages her clients to give the same level of care to themselves that they give to others. “Having a coach really gives them permission to do all of the things they know to do in regard to their health and fitness but have a hard time putting into practice.”

She adds, “They may feel the weight of the world on their shoulders and so having a coach helps to relieve the pressure of having to ‘do it all.’”

Instead of unrealistic workouts or fad diets, Barnette teaches her clients doable daily actions designed to fit into their busy lifestyles. Her plans are customized for each client to focus on his or her specific goals, needs, and preferences.

She prefers helping her clients learn to make good nutrition and regular activity a part of their daily lifestyle. “Eventually, you eat well, exercise regularly, and feel great without even thinking about it,” she says.

Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a Korean form of martial arts with an emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping spinning kicks, and fast-kicking techniques. Classes build strength, confidence, and agility while teaching basic but effective self-defense moves.

While this is a full-body workout that teaches patience and discipline, don’t be intimidated – local experts say they highly recommend it for people of any age and any fitness level.

Husband-and-wife team Scott and Twana Taylor and their family run Taylor’s Martial Arts Academy. They welcome adults, teens, and children to give taekwondo a shot if they’re seeking confidence, community, focus, discipline, fitness, self-defense, and empowerment.

Their classes are ideal for those of us who have resolved to get into better shape in 2022. The Taylors say their martial arts workouts are fun and challenging, burning calories while building muscle and ramping up metabolism.

Taylor’s Martial Arts Academy
225 N. Eastman Rd., #110, Kingsport
423.946.3261
admin@taylorsmartialarts.com

Swimming

For a low-impact but effective workout, swimming is an excellent option. The Kingsport Aquatic Center, next to the YMCA, features indoor and outdoor pools so you can swim any time of year.

No matter your experience or comfort level, the Aquatic Center has something for you. This time of year, the outdoor area is closed for the season, but the indoor options for fun are practically endless.

The 46,000-square-foot indoor pool area features three multipurpose pools, including the region’s only indoor Olympic-size swimming pool and a four-lane, zero-entry warm pool (87-89°F) for classes and recreation.

Indoor classes include the high-intensity Cardio Blast and Power Wave, and even Aqua Zumba, which combines Latin rhythms and dance steps with a pool party atmosphere. Swim instruction is also available, with a variety of classes for adults and kids.

When the weather warms up and the center’s outdoor area reopens, bring the family and enjoy the two waterslides, a 900-foot lazy river, a play area with water cannons, and snacks and beverages.

Both day passes and memberships are available.

Kingsport Aquatic Center
1820 Meadowview Parkway, Kingsport
423.343.9758
SwimKingsport.com

Walking and Biking

Not quite ready to step outside of your comfort zone?

Kingsport’s Greenbelt is not only a great place to walk your dog and get exercise in the fresh air and sunshine; it’s also completely free. A 10-mile linear park that connects neighborhoods, traditional parks, the downtown area, schools, and activity centers, the Greenbelt offers a paved walking/biking path with an abundance of natural beauty.

The Greenbelt features the “Bluebird Trail,” a wetland preservation area, wildflowers, a nearby skate park, natural springs, a suspension bridge, picnic spaces, and a riverside boat ramp. The path is bookended by two historic sites – the Exchange Place, a living history farm, and Rotherwood Mansion, built in 1818.

In addition to the Exchange Place on Orebank Road, there are several places where you can park and access the Greenbelt:

  • East Stone Commons behind PetSmart
  • Reedy Creek Terrace near Starbucks
  • Brookhaven Drive
  • Holston Medical Center on West Ravine Street
  • Holston Valley Drive
  • Cloud Park/Center Street
  • Riverfront Park on Netherland Inn Road

With color-coded mile markers, it’s easy to keep track of how far you’ve walked or biked, and to create your own personal goals for improvement. Open year-round, the Greenbelt also features a fitness park with outdoor exercise equipment arranged in stations that overlook the Holston River.

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