From hiking and cycling to horseback riding to walking in the neighborhood, these Capital Region residents are making the most of what the outdoors has to offer. These are people in your community who are just like you – and they’re spending time outside, hanging out with their kids and pets, and getting fit in the process.
CDPHP is ready for summer – we have lots of tips for adding activity on hot days and upping the nutritional content of your favorite foods. Join us as we explore the Capital Region and enjoy the season together!
Favorite outdoor activity: Yoga
Where she goes: Her backyard, Frear Park in Troy
Time constraints have motivated fitness buff Courtney Horan to take a creative approach to her exercise schedule. “Being a full-time working mom, I don’t have a lot of spare time for workouts these days, so anything that can deliver great results in minimal time is key,” Horan says. One of her newest passions is practicing outdoor yoga. She also plays softball and regularly walks her 11-month-old son in a stroller around her neighborhood in Troy.
Occupation: Head of sales and marketing at meritpages.com
Favorite outdoor activities: Bicycling, hiking
Where she goes: Cycles the back roads of Saratoga and Rensselaer counties, especially Saratoga National Historical Park; hikes the Adirondack, Berkshire, and Catskill mountains
Amy Mengel prefers to access the region’s plentiful mountains, hiking trails, and bike paths for her fitness fix rather than indoor gyms. She loves that these outdoor activities give her an option to push herself to the limit, or to include her toddler, Harriet, in a less strenuous adventure. “Each ride or hike can be as easy or as challenging as I want to make it,” Mengel says. “And with endless routes and trails in this area, I never get bored.”
Favorite outdoor activity: Cross-country skiing
There are winter mornings when Danielle Sanzone steps into her cross-country gear and skis the mile from her home to her office. It certainly beats navigating Troy’s slick winter streets during rush hour. “Instead of shoveling off my car and dealing with the snowy and icy roads, I just wear some warm clothes and put on my skis,” Sanzone says. In the warmer months, she hikes the Adirondack Mountains and kayaks on Lake Elizabeth near Grafton Lakes State Park.
His outdoor activities: Hunting for mushrooms, foraging for food, gardening
Favorite foraging spots: Wooded areas in the Catskill and Taconic mountain ranges, 150 acres of woods behind his home in Woodstock
Celebrity chef Ric Orlando will go to almost any length to find good food. He and his 12-year-old Portuguese water dog, Gambit, spend several hours two or three times a week trekking through the woods for mushrooms, wild greens, butternuts, black walnuts, and wild berries. “My foraging hobby is a good way to walk two miles on irregular terrain. I definitely put my mileage on in the woods,” Orlando says. Yoga, gardening, and muscle-strengthening workouts using tension bands are also a regular part of his exercise regimen.
Favorite outdoor activities: Roller hockey, cycling
Where he plays: Collins Park in Scotia
Rick Marshall has been playing roller hockey for 20 years since his days as a student at Guilderland Central High School. He likes the game because it’s a bit slower-paced than ice hockey while still offering a great workout. And he prefers to play the sport outdoors. “I can only take so much of being in a rink,” Marshall says. He also rollerblades around his Helderberg neighborhood in Albany and takes advantage of the city’s great bike paths.
Occupation: Vice president and general manager of Tri-City Valley Cats
Favorite outdoor activity: Running
Where he does it: Joseph L. Bruno Stadium and Hudson Valley Community College, both in Troy
Running gives Rick Murphy several benefits: It’s a time-efficient workout, a great way to get his nature fix, and the optimal tension reliever. “It’s a healthy way to do some deep thinking while being active,” says Murphy, who runs three to four times a week. “I can think about work projects or tasks. But I can also get away from business. It works both ways.” He also hikes and plays ice hockey in a men’s league during the winter months.
Occupation: Chief financial officer of Mazzone Hospitality
Favorite outdoor activities: Hiking, cycling, running
Where he does them: Lake George, Clifton Park, various spots around the Capital Region
Matthew Mazzone lost 35 pounds in the last eight months. He wanted to be healthier and to be a model for his two young children, ages 3 and 6. He’s changed his diet, but an ongoing challenge is carving out time for exercise. One solution is hiking with his children, an activity that gets everyone together, outdoors and moving. “We’re not climbing mountains, but I really enjoy something I can do with my kids,” Mazzone says. He also biked 25 miles in this year’s Tour de Cure and ran the 3.5-mile CDPHP® Workforce Team Challenge.
Occupation: Owner, Complexions Spa for Beauty and Wellness
Favorite outdoor activity: Horseback riding
Where she rides: An equestrian farm in Saratoga County
Since she was a youngster, Denise DuBois has loved horses. Back then, she competed at horse shows throughout the Northeast. Today, she rides for pleasure. “I had horses growing up. Once you have them in your blood, I don’t ever think you lose that,” says DuBois, who rides English-style in a ring. She also enjoys walks with her dog on the Mohawk Trail Bikeway near her home in Latham and works out three days a week with a trainer.
Profession: Licensed associate real estate broker for RealtyUSA
Favorite outdoor activity: Walking
Where she does it: Neighborhoods in Delmar, especially those in the historic “Olde Delmar” section
Walking is the perfect solution for Cathy Cooley’s busy schedule. One of her favorite activities is walking a three- to four-mile route around her suburban town. “I can put myself in workout clothes and a pair of sneakers and get a workout anytime,” she says. “It’s so nice to take a deep breath and get going right outside my door.” Cooley also stays true to a weekly regimen that involves two days of weight and cardio routines with a personal trainer at her home.
Occupation: Features editor/sports columnist at the Times Union
Favorite outdoor activity: Running
Jennifer Gish loves talking about running almost as much as she loves running. So much so that in the fall of 2013 she founded the Couch-to-5k program for survivors of domestic violence. “Running has proven hugely empowering for domestic violence survivors,” says Gish, a late bloomer who started running in 2011 as a “media personality” team leader for the first-ever Freihofer’s Run for Women training challenge. Today, she clocks at least 20 miles a week regardless of conditions. Once, when temps dipped to eight degrees, her eyelashes frosted over.