How to Prepare Your Body for a Workout

Are you looking to start or return to a normal exercise routine? By making the decision to be more physically active, you’ve already taken the first step towards a healthier you. But in order to establish a consistent exercise schedule, you need to prepare your body.Thankfully, preparing for physical activity is pretty simple; you just need to focus on a few specific areas. By putting in a little time beforehand, you’ll reduce your risk of injury and get the most out of your workout. This Monday, learn all you need to know about readying your body and mind for exercise. 

Stay Hydrated by Drinking Water

The human body depends on water to help get rid of wastes, regulate temperature, keep joints healthy, and protect sensitive tissues. Being dehydrated will make you feel tired and drained of energy—not exactly how you want to feel before a workout.So how much water should you drink? Well, that depends on your body size, the weather, and the duration/intensity of exercise. Feeling thirsty is a clear sign of dehydration, but you can also check the color of your urine: pale or clear urine is an indication that you’re well hydrated, while a dark yellow color is a sign that you should drink more water. 

Power Your Workout with Proper Nutrition

What you eat before and after you exercise is almost as important as the workout itself. Food is your fuel—it gives you the energy necessary to be active and focused, and it also provides the nutrients required to build muscle and bone strength, as well as help the body recover post workout.Before exercising, try to stick with eating carbohydrates that won’t upset the stomach, such as bananas, oatmeal, or whole grain bread. For a post-workout meal, eat a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Foods high in protein allow the body to build new muscle tissue, while carbohydrate-rich foods are better for after a run or another endurance exercise. Refuel your body with foods like beans, quinoa, or Greek yogurt. 

Warm Up and Cool Down

Starting physical activity with a warmup and concluding it with a cooldown can help you improve the quality of your workout. A warmup raises your body temperature and increases blood flow to the muscles. This improves the stretchiness of the muscle tissue and can help reduce muscle tightness, pain, and risk of injury. Although there’s no strict definition for what constitutes a “warmup,” the basic idea is doing an activity or exercise at a slower pace (stretching, using lighter weights) to help prepare the body for more intense movement.After moderate physical activity, a 10-minute cooldown allows body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure to return to their normal levels. Cooldown exercises, like stretching, walking, foam rolling, and deep breathing, can help lower your risk of injury and reduce stress to the heart and other muscles. 

Stretch for Success

Stretching is more than just a warmup. By improving your flexibility through stretching, you are effectively lowering your risk of injury and pain, broadening range motion, improving posture, and bettering body control and stability. And most importantly, being more flexible makes every-day activities easier: from getting out of bed to walking up stairs to reaching a high cabinet.Stretching seems simple—and it is—but there are some general guidelines to follow to help you avoid injury. First, warm up with a few minutes of brisk walking. When starting a stretch, always moves gently and smoothly into position, stopping when you feel any sort of sharp pain. Initially, you’ll want to hold stretches for between 10 and 20 seconds, but as you get more comfortable, you can extend the hold time for as long as 30 seconds. Don’t know where to start? Check out our list of beginner stretches and stretching tips.Make this Monday your day to get active. For more information on how you can prepare yourself for exercise, click here.

We’re thrilled to announce our all-new Open Gym Membership!

Introducing our all-new membership option for open gym at all 3 recreation centers! We are thrilled to offer this fantastic opportunity to our valued community members. Starting today, you can sign up for a monthly membership that grants you unlimited access to all the fun and action-packed open gym activities available at Ebster, Oakhurst, and Decatur Recreation Centers! For just $25 a month (or $50 a month for non-residents), you’ll unlock the ultimate freedom to participate in a variety of thrilling activities, including basketball, volleyball, table tennis, badminton, and pickleball. With most activities held multiple times a week, there’s never been a better time to unleash your competitive spirit and have a blast with friends and family. 

Volleyball: Join us at DRC year-round on Sundays from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. 

Table Tennis: Swing by DRC on Thursdays from 6:45 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m. 

Basketball: Catch women’s basketball on Wednesday nights and men’s basketball on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. at Oakhurst Rec. Plus, adult co-ed basketball from 2-4 p.m. on Saturdays, every other weekend starting July 15th. Adult open gym is also held Monday-Thursday from 7-9 p.m. though October at ERC. 

Badminton: Head over to Ebster Rec for badminton on Thursdays 6-9 p.m. through October. 

Pickleball: Serve it up at ERC from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday. We’ll have Pickleball on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. in September and October and in November and December we’ll switch over to Sundays 1-4 p.m. 

Ready to dive in? Signing up is quick and easy! You can register for your membership on CommunityPass, or simply visit any of our recreation centers where our friendly front desk attendants will be happy to assist you with the process. If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to us via email at or by calling 404-377-0494.

Beat the Heat: Stay Cool and Hydrated this Summer!

Did you catch the Today show featuring Glenlake Pool? Atlanta’s very own Blayne Alexander reported on the nationwide heat wave. As temperatures rise, it’s important to find ways to keep cool and stay safe. One great option is to visit our City’s pools, which are open every day until August 1 and then on weekends through Labor Day. Dive in and beat the heat!

In addition to pool time, here are some handy tips to help you stay cool during these scorching days. First, consider adjusting your outdoor exercise routine to take advantage of cooler times, such as early morning or late evening. If you can’t change the timing, try scaling down the intensity by reducing the duration, opting for a brisk walk instead of a run, or simply lowering your exertion level.

Choosing the right clothing can also make a big difference. Opt for loose-fitting garments, preferably in light colors, and opt for breathable fabrics like cotton, which can keep you cooler compared to synthetic materials.Don’t forget to hydrate! Combat dehydration by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they can contribute to dehydration. Instead, savor lighter summer fare like cold fruits, low-fat dairy products, and frequent small meals to keep your body well-nourished without generating excess heat. Plus, you’ll enjoy the added benefit of not having to cook next to a hot stove!

For a refreshing burst of coolness, keep a spray bottle filled with chilled water in the refrigerator. Use it to mist your face after spending time outdoors, providing an instant and invigorating cooldown.When the heat becomes unbearable, it’s crucial to seek shelter indoors whenever possible. Avoid activities in direct sunlight or on hot asphalt surfaces. Remember to pay special attention to the most vulnerable members of our community, including the elderly, infants, and those with chronic illnesses, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses and dehydration. And don’t forget about our furry friends! Pets also need protection from dehydration and heat-related illnesses.

As the summer heat persists, let’s make smart choices to stay cool, hydrated, and healthy. Join us in enjoying all that summer has to offer, while keeping safety a top priority. Stay cool and beat the heat!

Power Up Your Fitness this Monday with Group Activities

Planks, jumping jacks, mountain climbers – when you do them together it can be more fun, more challenging, and science says, better for you. Build a routine on Monday with some fresh ideas for group fitness.Need some ideas to get motivated?

  • Group Challenges – We’ve got five great group challenges to share. Do some jabs or high knees with your colleagues this Monday – it will bring you together and be a collective stress buster. Pow! It’s much better than an office water cooler.
  • Friends & Family – Get a friend or family member and schedule regular times to meet at the gym, work out at a nearby park, or follow along to a fitness routine in your living room. Even 30 minutes a few times a week will make a difference.
  • Take a Class – cardio, Tango, Zumba, strength training, swimming, yoga, Pilates, spin – the list of classes offered at a neighborhood gym or community center will surprise you. A good instructor will have a following and be a cheerleader, able to get everyone in the mood to stretch their limits, together.

In a study comparing results from group fitness and individual fitness, group exercise participants made greater improvements in all areas, including stress reduction.

Strength Training with What You’ve Got on Hand

If you’re just starting with a new strength-training regimen or trying to maintain a healthy weight, the last thing you want to think about is spending money on heavy weights and elaborate machinery. Exercise equipment can be expensive, cumbersome, and bulky, which is why it often ends up covered in cobwebs rather than sweat. But you don’t need a treadmill, weights, or a squat rack to build muscle at home; with a little creativity, you can fashion a number of household items into fitness gear.

If you want to recreate the feeling of free weights, look no further than your kitchen or pantry. Cans of soups or beans typically weigh 1 – 2 pounds; they are also the right shape to fit snuggly in the palm of your hand, making them perfect for bicep curls and tricep extensions. The next door to explore is that of your refrigerator. A quart of liquid (juice, milk, water, etc.) weighs approximately 4 – 5 pounds (you can step up the weight by using a gallon jug, which weighs closer to 8 pounds). These bottles are easy to grip, which is why they’re useful for exercises that engage a number of muscle groups like body squats, lunges, or shoulder presses.

For a workout that strengthens your core, grab a couple of hand towels. Yes, you read correctly. By placing a towel under each foot, you can do a number of different abdominal exercises — mountain climbers, knee tucks, and feet pikes — more effectively. This Monday, change up your workout by engineering your own equipment.

Source: Strength Training with What You’ve Got on Hand

Saturday starts Family Open Gym at Oakhurst Rec!

Join us for Open Gym at Oakhurst Rec Center! 🏀

Get ready to shoot some hoops and unleash your basketball skills! Starting this Saturday, July 8th.

1️⃣ Family Open Gym:
🗓️ Every Saturday
⏰ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Bring the whole family for a fun-filled basketball experience. It’s a perfect opportunity to bond, stay active, and enjoy quality time together on the court!

2️⃣ Teen Open Gym (13-17):
🗓️ Every other Saturday, starting July 8th
⏰ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Calling all teens aged 13-17! Show off your skills & compete with friends!

3️⃣ Adult Open Gym (18+):
🗓️ Every other Saturday, starting July 15th
⏰ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Attention adults (18+), it’s time to dust off those basketball shoes and join us for a friendly co-ed game.

Oakhurst Recreation Center,
450 East Lake Drive

Wednesday Walks

Living close to parks and recreation facilities has incredible benefits for both adults and youth. Studies consistently show that proximity to these spaces is linked to higher physical activity levels. Get ready to lace up your sneakers and experience the positive impact firsthand!

But the benefits don’t stop there. Parks also provide a vital connection to nature, offering a sanctuary of tranquility and wellness. Research demonstrates that spending time in nature can relieve stress, strengthen interpersonal relationships, and enhance mental health. It’s a win-win for your body and mind!

Join us this Wednesday at 9 a.m. in front of the Decatur Recreation Center for an invigorating 2-3 mile walk around Decatur’s vibrant neighborhoods. Embrace the fresh air, enjoy the scenic views, and connect with like-minded individuals who prioritize their well-being.

At Decatur Parks & Recreation, we understand the importance of equitable opportunities for all community members to stay active. Our dedicated park and recreation professionals play a key role in ensuring that everyone has equal access to these transformative experiences.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic chance to improve your physical and mental well-being while exploring our beautiful community. Grab a friend, bring your family, and let’s walk together towards a healthier and happier lifestyle!

See you Wednesday at 9 a.m. in front of the Decatur Recreation Center. Let’s make every step count!

#WhereCommunityGrows #growththroughhealthandwellbeing #decaturparksandrec

Outdoor Activities for a Summer Time Sweat

There’s no substitute for being outdoors. The fresh air, the sunshine, the cool breeze — it’s all invigorating, especially if you’ve been cooped up inside. This Monday, let nature be your gymnasium by adding some outside-activities to your workout routine.

Exercising in a park or wooded area, especially during the summer months, is an excellent way to experience all the sights, sounds, and smells of nature while also getting in your daily physical activity.

But what can you do to stay fit outdoors? A whole lot. Sure, you can start with a simple jog to warm up, but there are many more interesting/exhilarating activities you can do outside, depending on the type of adventure you seek.


Even at a leisurely pace, biking offers a number of health benefits including increased cardiovascular ability and muscle strength, decreased stress levels, and improved posture and mobility. When riding in the park, try to wear bright or fluorescent colors so that pedestrians can easily see you from a distance away.


Weeding, planting, watering, and harvesting can do you a lot of good. Gardening has been shown to improve vitamin D exposure, boost mood, and reduce risk of dementia. Squatting, bending, and sweating is good for the soul as well as joint health and mobility.

Lawn Sports

Frisbee, croquet, and horseshoes don’t have to be relegated to backyard cookouts. These leisurely sports can be a great source of low-intensity physical activity. They’re mobile, simple to set up, and they can be quite entertaining if you’ve got a competitive side.

Nature Hike

It can be through a park, wooded area, or even your own backyard, taking a nature hike (or walk) is one-part physical activity, one-part stress relief. Call your local park service; they should be able to direct you to a list of approved trails and hikes.


Lake, pond, or pool, swimming is a great aerobic exercise that will keep you cool and refreshed (and maybe a little out of breath). Try doing laps or make a game out of it if you’re with a friend or partner.

Source: Outdoor Activities for a Summer Time Sweat

International Day of Yoga

Happy International Day of Yoga and Summer Solstice!

For International Yoga Day, people around the world are all set to take out their yoga mats and start exercising, but they might not be aware that yoga goes back centuries.
Yoga is considered to be an ancient practice that originated 5,000 years ago in India. Yoga was developed as a way to interconnect the mind, body and soul to step closer into enlightenment. As the practice became popular in the west, it became popularized as an exercise and relaxation method, with claims to help the body’s general well-being, alleviate physical injuries and chronic pain.

The idea of International Yoga Day was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 27, 2014, during his speech at the UN General Assembly, where a resolution to establish June 21 as International Yoga Day was introduced by India’s Ambassador, Asoke Kumar Mukerji.

The date of June 21 was chosen as it is the Summer Solstice, the day where there is the most sun out of every other day of the year.

You can join Yoga with Cheryl at the Decatur Rec Center, Tuesdays for Slow Flow Yoga and Thursdays for Deep Stretch Yoga. Both classes start at 10 a.m., sign up for the month or just drop in when you can! Sign up through CommunityPass or stop by the front desk at DRC.

Upcoming Adventures!

Email Jada Jordan to RSVP for Trails & Ales and Hiking Club.