Extreme nerds need to be bribed to work out at a gym. We need dark lighting so that nobody talks to us or smirks at our dirty Converses. We want it heavily air conditioned, too. Oh, and if you could project films on a big screen we'd be super into that. Basically, we want to jog in a cool, dark, judgment-free movie theater. Behold: Cardio Cinema. When you take the initial tour at Gold's Uptown, very little is mentioned about Cardio Cinema, and that undersell is why it's fantastic. The theater inside a gym is filled with treadmills, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes, but very few people use the thing and the dedicated tribe that does abides by an unspoken code of no talking. Plus, Gold's has a deal in which they show films that aren't quite on video yet and the selection rotates daily, so if you push yourself to jog an extra 10 minutes, you can finally hop into conversations about big budget release junk you'd otherwise know nothing about. It's basically perfect.

It isn't much to look at. The roof leaks, the interior is decorated with faded, autographed fight posters and a huge stained Mexican flag, and the sparring ring appears to be made entirely of duct tape. The workouts are throwbacks from a previous century, just running, shadow-boxing, skipping, jumping rope and hitting the heavy, double-end and speed bags. And if you want attention from a coach, you have to show some real dedication. But for $30 a month, follow Gene Vivero's cycle and you'll be in fighting shape in no time, whether you intend to become one of his many fighters representing at local and national Golden Gloves tournaments or just want to get in shape and aren't into the whole low-impact workout thing.

You don't have to be a birder to enjoy Audubon center. After paying a small fee, all you need for a lovely, quiet, relaxing afternoon hike are a bottle of water, a decent pair of shoes and an appreciation for the great outdoors. The 205-acre forest offers a 1.1-mile trail that includes some hilly but manageable terrain and a wheelchair-accessible canyon floor trail that's a half-mile round trip through an ecosystem featuring a stand of flowering dogwoods unique to North Texas. It's 16 miles from downtown, just close enough and far enough for a spur-of-the-moment escape.

There wasn't much competition for the best bike ride in the city, to be honest. Riding on two wheels here is mostly an adrenaline-fueled game of dodge the angry truck. But the path around White Rock Lake, continuing onto the Sante Fe Trail down to Deep Ellum, could compete with those of many metropolises with functioning recycling programs. The scenery around the lake is truly the best you'll find in the city limits, with possible stops along the way at the Arboretum and any number of the excellent bars and restaurants that border it (Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House and Cane Rosso come to mind). And the Sante Fe Trail offers a couple miles of actual wooded seclusion before taking you through East Dallas and down to Deep Ellum, the only neighborhood in Dallas where absolutely no one will look twice if you walk into a bar covered in sweat.

There wasn't much competition for the best bike ride in the city, to be honest. Riding on two wheels here is mostly an adrenaline-fueled game of dodge the angry truck. But the path around White Rock Lake, continuing onto the Sante Fe Trail down to Deep Ellum, could compete with those of many metropolises with functioning recycling programs. The scenery around the lake is truly the best you'll find in the city limits, with possible stops along the way at the Arboretum and any number of the excellent bars and restaurants that border it (Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House and Cane Rosso come to mind). And the Sante Fe Trail offers a couple miles of actual wooded seclusion before taking you through East Dallas and down to Deep Ellum, the only neighborhood in Dallas where absolutely no one will look twice if you walk into a bar covered in sweat.

Free tennis courts are great. On a drive through any Dallas neighborhood, you're likely to happen upon several pairs of them, as they dot our city like rectangular freckles. That said, there's no worse feeling than getting all dressed up for tennis and pulling up to a full tennis court. Hitting a ball against the fence just doesn't cut it when you're waiting your turn to play. Not so at Cole Park in Uptown. Eight good courts make for little to no wait, and at less than a mile from the Katy Trail, these courts also make for a tidy stop-off from a jog or bike ride. Plus, the courts are lit for the types who like to take their tennis parties into the wee hours.

Best Of Dallas®

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