How to Hit Physical Fitness Goals in the Midwest

Living in the Midwest has its advantages when it comes to physical fitness. Midwesterners have access to plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking and biking trails and the best gyms anywhere. So, the Midwest is perfect for hitting physical fitness goals indoors or outdoors.

Hitting outdoor physical fitness goals

With the abundance of rolling hills, public parks, and trails, in addition to great air quality, anyone can find a way to stay active in the Heartland. Using an online app like Map My Run, Midwesterners can start their physical fitness goals right outside their front door!

The Midwest’s mild spring, summer, and autumn make it easy to enjoy outdoor activities without worrying about excessive heat or humidity. What about the cold weather? Yes, it can get pretty chilly in the dead of January. Yet, cold winters provide plenty of opportunities for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts alike.

This list highlights locations that offer opportunities for physical fitness across different seasons. Always check for specific trail or park conditions and prepare before embarking on any physical activity.


  1. Maquoketa Caves State Park: Hiking, spelunking.
  2. High Trestle Trail: Biking, walking, running.
  3. Ledges State Park: Hiking, trail running.
  4. Lake Macbride State Park: Kayaking, canoeing, hiking.


  1. Ozark National Scenic Riverways: Kayaking, canoeing, hiking.
  2. Katy Trail State Park: Biking, walking, running.
  3. Elephant Rocks State Park: Hiking, bouldering.
  4. Ha Ha Tonka State Park: Hiking, trail running.


  1. Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve: Hiking, trail running.
  2. Milford Lake: Kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding.
  3. Lake Scott State Park: Hiking, biking.
  4. Clinton State Park: Biking, trail running.


  1. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness: Canoeing, kayaking.
  2. Voyageurs National Park: Kayaking, hiking.
  3. Superior Hiking Trail: Hiking, trail running.
  4. Itasca State Park: Biking, hiking.


  1. Chimney Rock National Historic Site: Hiking.
  2. Scotts Bluff National Monument: Hiking, trail running.
  3. Niobrara National Scenic River: Kayaking, canoeing.
  4. Platte River State Park: Hiking, mountain biking.

North Dakota:

  1. Theodore Roosevelt National Park: Hiking, trail running.
  2. Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park: Hiking, biking.
  3. Lake Sakakawea State Park: Kayaking, paddleboarding.
  4. Maah Daah Hey Trail: Mountain biking, hiking.

South Dakota:

  1. Black Hills National Forest: Hiking, mountain biking.
  2. Badlands National Park: Hiking, trail running.
  3. Custer State Park: Hiking, mountain biking.
  4. Spearfish Canyon: Hiking, rock climbing.


  1. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore: Kayaking, hiking.
  2. Devil’s Lake State Park: Rock climbing, hiking.
  3. Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest: Mountain biking, hiking.
  4. Ice Age National Scenic Trail: Hiking, trail running.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Each state offers a unique blend of local parks, trails, lakes, and rivers, providing ample outdoor enthusiasts opportunities. Always remember to check for seasonal activities and events when planning a visit and consider local recommendations to discover hidden gems.

Basic gear you need for outdoor activities

When it comes to enjoying outdoor activities in the Midwest, having the right gear is essential. Here is a list of online and retail stores with a wide range of sports and outdoor gear, including apparel and footwear.

  • Backcountry Specialty: Gear and apparel for hiking, skiing, snowboarding, and other outdoor sports.
  • Bass Pro Shops Specialty: Outdoor gear with an emphasis on fishing, boating, and hunting.
  • Cabela’s Specialty: Outdoor gear with a focus on hunting, fishing, and camping.
  • Columbia Sportswear Specialty: Clothing and gear for a variety of outdoor activities, including fishing, hiking, and winter sports.
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods Specialty: A wide range of sports and outdoor gear, including apparel and footwear.
  • L.L.Bean Specialty: Outdoor gear and apparel with a focus on durability and classic styles.
  • Merrell Specialty: Outdoor shoes, including hiking boots and trail shoes.
  • Moosejaw Specialty: A wide range of outdoor clothing and gear, with a mix of humor in their branding.
  • Mountain Hardwear Specialty: Technical outdoor apparel, equipment, and accessories.
  • Patagonia Specialty: Sustainable clothing and gear for outdoor adventures, including climbing, surfing, skiing, and snowboarding.
  • REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) Specialty: A wide range of outdoor gear and apparel for camping, hiking, cycling, climbing, and more.
  • Salomon Specialty: Shoes and gear for hiking, running, skiing, and snowboarding.
  • Scheels Specialty: Hunting, fishing, athletic gear, sports, and outdoors.
  • The North Face Specialty: High-quality gear and apparel for hiking, skiing, and winter sports.

Shopping around can also help save money, so take advantage of sales whenever possible!

Hitting physical fitness gyms in the Midwest

The Midwest has incredible gyms to choose from, each offering something different. From small local studios to big-box fitness centers, there is sure to be something that fits your individual needs and budget.

When choosing a gym in the Midwest, it’s important to consider the range of services and equipment available as well as the cost. Some gyms offer classes such as yoga or group fitness sessions, while others focus solely on providing weights and machines. Additionally, some gyms may have amenities such as pools or spas that could be beneficial depending on your goals for working out. Reviews from previous members can also provide insight into the quality of service at a particular establishment.

Here is a list of popular gyms found across the Midwest, each offering its own brand of offering pricing, and membership options:

Research different gyms in your area. Weigh their pros and cons based on your needs and decide which gym best suits your physical fitness goals. Then pick the right place to hit your physical fitness goals!

Tips for sticking to your physical fitness goals

Reaching physical fitness goals can be challenging because it’s difficult to remain focused and dedicated for the long haul. Here are a few tips that will help you stay on track:

Set Realistic Goals: When aiming for success, it is essential to set achievable targets. Start small and gradually increase the difficulty over time. Make sure your goals are challenging but achievable so that you can celebrate your accomplishments along the way.

Track Your Progress: Keeping track of your progress helps keep you focused and inspired. Set milestones or checkpoints to measure how far you have come since beginning your fitness journey in the Midwest. Acknowledging even minor successes, such as being able to run further or lift heavier weights, will maintain motivation levels.

Mix Up Your Routine: Variety is important to remain enthusiastic about physical fitness. Doing the same workout day after day could lead to burnout or quitting altogether! Let’s go! With commitment, discipline, and motivation – anything is possible!


  • Chris Kane

    Chris Kane is a military veteran and former business owner currently living in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro. Chris is an inveterate entrepreneur and avid web developer who is not shy about sharing his opinions.

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