Chris Eddy paddles Lady Bird Lake with a four-legged friend. Photo courtesy Blipic

Sure, you can lift weights or climb a man-made wall indoors, but for most folks, the simplest form of fitness starts when you step outside.

That’s the philosophy behind the upcoming Austin Sunshine Challenge, and it makes sense to me.

Just moving around under the sun – walking, biking, gardening or going to the park – gives me a boost both mentally and physically. It’s why I spend as much time as possible paddling rivers, cycling, strolling my neighborhood and swimming.

Almost any outdoor activity scores points in the Austin Sunshine Challenge. Photo courtesy Blipic

The four-week Sunshine Challenge encourages people to open the door and leave their air-conditioned sanctums. The rest happens organically.

Teams of four will compete to earn “sunshine points,” which they can accrue by attending organized group activities like yoga sessions or Camp Gladiator classes, park visits, lake cleanups, hikes, walks or dog meetups. Teams track their standings in the Blipic app, which connects active people to cool fitness-oriented activities around Austin.

“When you spend time outdoors, magical things happen,” says Chris Eddy, founder of Blipic and creator of the challenge.

Hiking, biking and participating in fitness classes counts in the Austin Sunshine Challenge. Photo courtesy Blipic

It costs $80 per team to register. The challenge starts April 20 and goes through May 18.Tosign up, go to

Everyone who registers gets four weeks of class and activity access, a T-shirt or tank top, and entry into a raffle. An awards ceremony on May 18 at The Domain, co-sponsored by the American Heart Association, will include fitness events, kids’ activities, sponsor tents, lawn games, snacks and a disc jockey.



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