A few weeks ago, I blogged about needed to make exercise more interesting and fun, perhaps by taking it outdoors more often. I had started running a little while before that, and while I would by no means call myself a "runner", I have at least kept my word and continued the trend. I have not, however, pulled my bike out of the barn or gone to the pool like I said I should. I blame this solely on the fact that I've had a wedding to prepare for, and it's all I can do to put an arm though my sports bra. But slowly, I'm learning new ways to incorporate more creative fitness into my routine.
Yesterday, I went to the gym and heaved a heavy sigh in anticipation of the boring workout ahead of me. But looking out the window, I realized that it was a beautiful day and I should take advantage of it. There is a very small window of nice weather in Virginia; it's usually either boiling hot or completely frigid. Spring and fall seem to be getting shorter and shorter, so it's best to squeeze in as much outdoor activity as possible when the temperature is right. So I knocked out a quick playlist on my iPod and scooted out the door into some awesome sixty-five degree weather. A cool wind was blowing too, which lifted my spirits and made me almost excited to start my workout.
The two mile loop that I take starts out at the gym and loops around Old Town and back again. It's really quite a scenic path, taking me past some incredible old houses, stone walls, and down the main street where people are always out and about. It's mostly uphill, however, and there are a few monsters that force me to walk. The rest of the time I try to jog or in the very least power walk. The first few times I did it, I went straight through and back to the gym, ending with a few sit ups and some stretching. This time though, I decided to make a pit stop at the half-way point, which happens to be the beautiful new children's playground, built only a few years back. Hearing my trainer Sandy's voice in my head, I looked around for any object I could use to enhance my workout, and made my way over to one of the picnic tables under the pavilion. I set to work doing sets of dips, and threw in as many rounds of squats in between. I also used the grassy lawn to throw myself into some chest-to-ground burpees (those nightmarish exercises where you get down into a frog stance, hands to the ground, then throw your legs straight back, reverse the move and then jump up-repeat!).
When all was said and done, I had finished three rounds of each exercise, and was sufficiently sweating my butt off. Still out of breath but satisfied, I took off for the last mile and walked/jogged back to the gym. I sprinted the last hundred yards and blew into the gym all red-faced and panting. I finished off the session with some sit-ups, planks, and deep stretching.
It's truly amazing how throwing your routine off a bit can really shake things up. Our bodies need to be tricked now and then, especially when we hit a plateau. Sometimes that's just what we need to start seeing the scale change again, but besides that, it's good for us mentally. I notice that when I start heaving sighs as soon as I walk in the gym door, my workouts inevitably get draggy and I lose momentum. Getting outside definitely helped, and then mixing it up with my little playground routine actually made it fun. No routines could be the key to sticking with a routine. Definitely worth a shot!
Published On: October 18, 2010