Take your workout outside this summer
We are about three weeks from the first official day of summer! We’re also about three weeks past “Earth Day” which is celebrated at the end of April. I’ve been a part of past Earth Day festivities in Hamilton which featured outdoor workouts, community walks and things like tree planting, and they were great. With the beautiful weather that we’ve had lately and the unique landscape that we have in Hamilton, I thought that I would put together a list of my favourite ways to get out into nature around the city while also improving your health and fitness.
Ernie’s Top 10 workouts
Here are my Top 10 favourite workouts and activities to do in and around Hamilton in the summer:
1. Circuit Training in Gage Park. Tie some resistance tubing around your waist and hit the walking trail for your cardio. Plan out a workout and stop every 3 minutes to perform an exercise before continuing with your walk, jog or run.
2. Make a plan to climb ALL of the escarpment stairs before the end of the summer! Each set has its own unique features and all provide awesome views of Hamilton.
3. Use the workout trail in the Dundas Conservation Area. Enter off of Governors Road. The workout trail features stations for pushups, pull-ups, sit-ups and dips, etc. This is a fantastic workout that can challenge even the most experienced exercisers.
4. Cross-country biking along the Niagara Escarpment. Enter at several points from Stoney Creek all the way to Dundas. Riding along rail trails, you will feel like you are deep in the woods while homes and city streets are sometimes only feet away.
5. Run up the rail trail from Wentworth Street to Bernie Arbour Stadium. Turn left rather than taking the stairs at Wentworth Street, and continue all the way up the escarpment until you find yourself at the Mohawk Sports Park, home of Bernie Arbour baseball stadium.
6. Rollerblade, walk, run or cycle the Waterfront Trail. Try to complete an “out and back” from Bayfront Park to Princess Point, and then try to beat your time or add a second (or third) “out and back.” This would make a great summer challenge.
7. Do a workout using the monkey bars and benches for pushups, step-ups, etc. at your local park. You will inspire the young ones and make the other parents jealous.
8. Buy organic and/or locally grown produce at the farmers’ market in Jackson Square or at some of the other stalls that set up on weekends around the city.
9. Pitch-in and hike through the Red Hill Valley picking up trash as you go.
10. Plan at least one errand per week that you can do on foot that you would normally do in your car. Example; run or walk to the bank to make a deposit or walk to the grocery store using a wagon to bring your groceries home.
Three more reasons
According to the American Council on Exercise, here are three more reasons to do some of your exercise outdoors this summer.
1. The outdoor environment is constantly changing. Uneven terrain and weather conditions force your body to adapt in ways that it wouldn’t have to in a gym environment. This can make you stronger and more agile.
2. Wind resistance can be a factor when working outside. Walking, biking or jogging into a headwind will help you burn more calories and develop core strength along with improved balance.
3. Research, along with plenty of anecdotal evidence, has found that exercising outdoors is associated with greater feelings of revitalization and increased energy, along with decreased feelings of tension, stress, anxiety and depression.
There is nothing wrong with exercising indoors in a gym, but there are so many benefits to moving your body out in nature that you really should make the effort to take your workout outside, at least on occasion, for variety, for fun and for all of the health benefits that you’ll receive in the process.
There are so many benefits to moving your body out in nature