Samson’s Guide to keeping fit in Tehran
Contributor Samson Seez gives you the lowdown on keeping fit for free! There are plenty of ways to keep fit in Tehran and here are a few examples.
Aside from various gyms or uptown luxurious health clubs in Tehran, one can get into shape for free, as well as enjoy a scenic view at the same time!
Step 1 – Get used to the air and climate
You can get started by getting used to Tehran’s air and weather conditions first. After all, the city does have an elevation of 1,189 meters, which could be quite overwhelming if you are originally from a low altitude based area.
In fact, one of the biggest complaints of new arrivals is the feeling of exhaustion in the first few weeks of being in Tehran as their body acclimatises itself to the new higher elevation. Breathing could be slightly more difficult, and nosebleeds may occur during your first couple of weeks in Tehran.
So what you would have to do is to begin light cardio workouts in local parks such as fast walking, jogging or riding a bike. Doing laps around parks between 30 minutes to 45 minutes should be sufficient. Your heart will gain strength and you will get used to Tehran’s air. You may want to take caution first by checking the current pollution levels on a mobile app.
Step 2 – Use park apparatus for muscle conditioning
Many people around the world may find it hard to believe that we humans do not necessarily need a gym to get into shape.
Once you are used to the air and your surroundings in Tehran, you can then start to use the park’s apparatus. There is a variety to choose from, like shoulder press, sit-ups, chin-ups or leg raises, but whatever you go for, you will be lifting your weight (very effective). If you feel that you have reached a decent level of fitness, then you have the option of purchasing stuff on the side like dumbbells, an exercise mat or a small bench in Moniriyeh’s sports equipment district.
(Moniriyeh is an area in District 11 (way downtown) famous for workout gear with decent prices. The shopping district is easily accessible via the useful and very cheap BRT system that runs up and down Valiasr Street.)
If you feel you wish to combine exercise and nature, go to Step 3!
Step 3 – Magnificent Mountain Movement
One could say this option is only for pros, but it surely is an opportunity that cannot be missed. Mountain walks, and mountain climbing is a top-notch exercise that not only does it physically condition the body to a whole new level, but it also gives you a pure taste of nature and scenic views of the city.
Out of the various trails at different points of North Tehran, Jamshidieh Park and Darakeh maybe good places to start getting used to when it comes to mountain trekking. Tochal is a must if you are looking for entertainment along the way. Also known as Baam-e-Tehran (Roof of Tehran) is very popular for adrenaline bursts like the sleigh rail (Sortmeh), skiing and bungee jumping. However, beyond those features lies a rather steep mountain trail that follows the cable car route. Walking at altitudes as high as 3,000 metres and passing several cable car stations is no doubt considered a great physical achievement for many active individuals.
Once you are more professional and physically conditioned, another surprise for mountain walkers would be to mix and connect these scenic trails. A prime example is using Jamshidieh Park as your starting point. This 9-hour walk will take you past the Kolakchal stopover (a great place to stop for breakfast and various snacks) and up to the highest peak of the Alborz Mountains.
At Kolakchal, you could even witness a walk in the snow during mid-summer. If you feel exhausted, then why not hitch a relaxing cable car ride all the way down to Tochal? Moreover, there you have it, journey complete and super workout complete.
If exercise sounds too taxing, then why not go watch a Romanian drama at the TMOCA?