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Resolutions for early risers

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Join Walk SF on Jan. 27 for an inspiring and invigorating sunrise hike through Eureka Valley and up to Twin Peaks to kickstart a new habit for walking more. (Courtesy David Yu/Flickr)

While San Franciscans were spared the record-low temperatures from the polar vortex lashing the East Coast and Midwest, that doesn’t mean we’ve escaped the winter blues. Even in California, winter months often mean cold, wet weather and significantly less sunlight, as well as the onset of colds and flus (and an excess of holiday treats). Taken together, these conditions lead to feelings of lethargy, sluggishness and generally less exuberance.

Like many faced with these conditions, your New Year’s resolutions may already be feeling unmanageable, especially as you consider another workout trip to that crowded, smelly and fluorescent-lit gym space. Perhaps you should consider a better resolution? The kind you will actually keep to live healthier in 2018.

We all know we need to exercise more, but overly ambitious resolutions to work out every day often end up falling to the wayside as we slip back into unhealthy and our more sedentary habits by the Lunar New Year. If your resolution is small and doable, however, you are more likely to keep it. So, instead of those tired old resolutions, why not go outdoors, get active with a walk and take in the beauty of San Francisco with a few of your neighbors and community members?

Studies have consistently shown simply walking more improves physical, mental and emotional well-being — all goals worth pursuing in the New Year (especially on April 5 when you can join with thousands on Walk to Work Day).

On Saturday, Jan. 27, join adventurer and veteran monthly walk leader Aaron Dence for an inspiring and invigorating sunrise hike through Eureka Valley and up to Twin Peaks to kickstart a new habit for walking more. You will scale some of the many hidden staircases of the Castro, while winding your way up toward the summit of Twin Peaks as part of a heart-pumping three-and-a-half-mile route.

Along the hike, discover hidden secret staircases and little-known neighborhood playgrounds with adult-friendly cement slides, journey through streets and natural trails to pass through local pocket parks and natural spaces and enjoy incredible views of The City as it wakes up to its slumbering residents.

You’ll also arrive at the second-highest point in San Francisco in time to watch the sunrise from the roof of The City. Be sure to bring a blanket and a camera (or cellphone) to snap a shot as you pause to take in the sunrise.

As you sit in awe while watching the sun climb over the Oakland hills, you can take in the healing effects of its rays — after all, sunlight stimulates the production of melanin and provides a natural source of Vitamin D, which spurs endorphin production. Best of all, your climb to the top of the viewing summit will take you onto the new car-free segment of Twin Peaks Boulevard, one of the rare streets in San Francisco that have been opened up entirely to people walking and biking.

Your walk begins in the Castro at Philz Coffee (though, make note, they won’t be open at the early start time). Stops will include Seward Park and Tank and Kite hills.
The walk ends at Reveille Coffee for an optional breakfast and well-
deserved coffee.

Walk leader Aaron Dence:
Aaron is a Certified Exercise Physiologist and owner of Trainer SF, a personal training and nutrition coaching company based in San Francisco. As a longtime San Francisco resident who loves exploring The City and its unique and rich neighborhoods, parks, stairs, trails and open spaces, you might catch him and his family out and about on the weekends.

Rise and Shine Staircase Walk
When: Saturday, Jan. 27, 6-9 a.m.
Where: Philz Coffee, 549 Castro St., S.F.
Info: Walk space is limited; $10 minimum donation to Walk; RSVPs required at walksf.org/event/sunrisewalk

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