The Root’s Healthy Cities: Detroit

In a city hit hard by the recession, here's how to exercise and eat well without spending a fortune.


(The Root) — Detroit does not immediately spring to mind when you think of healthy eating and active living, given recent news from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that nearly 1 in 3 adults in Michigan is obese.

But a panoply of options — including a walk or run along the glistening Detroit Riverfront — exists in the Motor City for anyone inclined to work off those excess pounds. There are also plenty of places for health-conscious Detroiters to dine and pick up healthy fruits and greens to cook at home. And the city recently broke ground on a 21,000-square-foot site in Midtown for a Whole Foods Market that is set to open next year.

Here are a few options for people who want to check out what Detroit residents on the move do to stay healthy.

Where to Work Out

With its commanding skyline, the riverfront is a great place to take in some air while walking, running or biking. The Detroit RiverFront Conservancy also offers classes, such as Booty Boot Camp and the Helen Phillips Health Walk for $12 each, but you have to enroll early because classes do fill up. Requests are already being accepted for 2013.

The city also boasts a series of trails that double as bike paths, including the Detroit RiverWalk, about a 5.5-mile stretch of road along the river, and the Dequindre Cut, a pathway that is below street level and runs about a mile long.

With 17 locations, the YMCA is always a terrific workout option for Detroiters. The Boll Family downtown location (1401 Broadway) has received rave reviews from residents. It boasts a family pool and lap pool as well as a gymnasium for open workouts and group exercise classes, including intermediate yoga, tai chi, body boot camp, cycling and kettlebell training. It also has a climbing wall.

In addition, the city of Detroit has scores of recreational centers where families and singles can swim, take classes such as water aerobics and learn about healthy living.

Where to Eat