Healthy living, small-town style

Photo of the Village of Saugerties at night by Dion Ogust.

Staying fit doesn’t have to be a chore.

It doesn’t require an expensive gym membership, nor take a huge investment of time. Every small step taken leads to better health overall. Saugertesians are fortunate to have options. This town offers plenty of ways in which to make those small steps taken add up to better fitness. For instance, Saugerties is known throughout the region for its extraordinarily wide range of organized (and disorganized) recreational activities. But here are a few other suggestions.

Check out the farmers’ market

Maintaining a healthy diet is easier when the available choices are fresh and appealing. The Saugerties Farmers’ Market, about to open its eleventh season, offers a wide range of locally-grown produce, some of it certified organic and naturally grown. Knowing what to do with the bounty is the other half of the battle, and the market helps out with that, too, hosting chef demonstrations, with tastings and recipes.

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Beyond the produce, the market also presents a variety of other healthy goods, including artisan breads, freshly laid eggs, fresh herbs, local cheeses, honey, jam and sauces, baked goods, pasture-raised meats and free-range poultry from local sources. When the weather is hot and cooking doesn’t seem like a very attractive prospect, ready-made goods are available at the market to be eaten on-site or taken home as well.

The Saugerties Farmers’ Market is held in the village at the juncture of Main and Partition Streets every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend, May 26, through October 20. For information, visit www.saugertiesfarmersmarket.com.

Take a short walk

It’s been recommended in recent years that for optimal health we take 10,000 steps every day. This adds up to about five miles, a figure that, unless one has a very active job, isn’t likely to be achieved during normal daily activities. Still, every step counts, and even things like parking the car a distance from your destination and walking there to get in some extra steps, or going for a walk while waiting for your car to be serviced, will add up.

Drs. Denice and Bob Martin, husband-and wife-chiropractic team at the Center of Health in Saugerties, say that their patients have found it beneficial to get involved in walking groups. They’ve started two such groups, one leaving from Cantine Field and the other from Seamon Park. “This isn’t power walking,” says Bob, “or something you need a new jogging outfit for. Anyone can do this.” A spouse or family member can be enlisted for support, too; a walk into the village for lunch is a reason for both to get moving.

Rather than being intimidated by 10,000 steps, say the Martins, start small. Start with ten steps if that’s all you can do. “No matter what your age or current activity level,” says Denice Martin, “start small and build from there.”

 Take a longer walk

Getting extra steps in while going about your daily routine is great, but sometimes it’s easier to stay motivated walking when you choose a beautiful location in which to immerse yourself. Saugerties offers an array of choices for scenic walks, from the easy-to-navigate area around the Saugerties Lighthouse to the more rugged rock ledges on the trails along the edge of the river at Falling Waters Preserve.

A short distance from downtown Saugerties, Falling Waters Preserve was once the site of the Mulford Ice House, which in its day held 10,000 tons of ice yielded by the river awaiting shipment to New York City. Remains of the icehouse are still there on one of the trails, and other paths feature a scenic waterfall and dramatic views of the Hudson River and the Catskills. For information, visit www.scenichudson.org/parks/fallingwaters.

Ride a bike

Another option for fitness in Saugerties is to ride a bike, either around town to do errands, or on a day-long outing. Revolution Bicycles in the village rents bikes by the hour or the day for a nominal fee, and offer the accessories like car-trunk racks and bike baskets for rental as well. There are even tandem bikes available. A helpful map of bike trails around Saugerties and places to see by bike can be printed out from the tourism section of www.village.saugerties.ny.us.

 The Suggestion Guy

Jerome Hollick bills himself as the One-Stop Outdoor Resource guy. “I’m kind of the unofficial tour guide for the area,” he says.

He’s not kidding, either. He has suggestions for everything from kayaking or trout fishing on the river to hiking at Kaaterskill Falls; from rowing at the Kingston Rowing Club for low-impact fitness to going for the zipline at Hunter Mountain, the highest zipline in North America, he says. (Turns out it’s also the fastest and the longest in North America at 3200’ long and 600’ high.)

“Where we live, there’s a lot of outdoor activities all over. There’s no other place quite like it, absolutely beautiful, picturesque, a lot of nice wilderness. And what’s unique is that there’s mountains and a river close together,” he says. “Next year we’re thinking of doing a surf -and-turf day where you go skiing up at Hunter Mountain during the day, and then you leave and drive a half hour to the river in Saugerties, where you’d then go sailing and watch the sun set over the mountains that you just skied or snowboarded,” he says.

Hollick runs the Tivoli Sailing Company, offering sailing lessons and charters for adults, as well as kids’ programs.

Sailing lessons are intimidating to some people, according to Hollick, but “if you can drive a car and drink a cup of coffee at the same time, you can sail a ship,” he says. “You’re only going five to seven miles per hour. If you drove a car at that speed you’d never get in an accident.” Sailing isn’t just for the young or very fit, Hollick says. “Like a lot of things, it’s just a matter of perspective and learning.” For information, visit www.tivolisailing.com.

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