Continuing on with my Mondays in May, Get Moving series, today I wanted to talk about a mode of workout that is near and dear to my heart: OUTDOOR WORKOUTS.
I was lucky enough to grow up with parents who saw to it that we spent plenty of time outside. Camping, exploring, fishing, hiking, biking, running, and more. All were encouraged.
As I got older, I really got into my running game. I ran almost solely outside. A friend of mine and I recently compared notes, we both hit a wall on the treadmill at about 3 miles. Consequently, I hit the road.
This is not to say that I was EVER a high level runner. Never a pro. Never competitive. But I LOVED to RUN. I ran outside nearly every day.
A climbing accident my sophomore year of college put the brakes on my running for a couple of years. I shattered my fibula and cracked off the bottom of my tibia. After some extensive surgery and fancy titanium hardware, I now have a wonderfully reconstructed ankle.
After some intensive rehab, I continued running through my twenties. Completing one marathon and many, many 1/2 marathons, 10 milers, and more Saturday long runs than I can count. I logged countless miles with our Bob and double Bob strollers! (Truly wish I’d been better about using a pedometer just to have a record of the distance.)
I hit 30 and had to address the fact that my running days were over. I had a lot of pain associated with every step, and after longer runs my ankle would ache for up to a week. It simply wasn’t wise to keep pounding the pavement.
So the very same day my orthopedist told me that running probably wasn’t going to be my gig, my husband went to the local bike shop and picked out a sweet road bike for me.
Now let’s turn this toward the outside, shall we? The reason I touch on my running history here is that almost all of it was done OUTSIDE.
With the exception of a few aforementioned miles here and there on a treadmill in college when the weather was simply too frigid, icy, and snowy to run outside, I ran outdoors day in and day out.
Now that I cycle, I would say my ride time is split almost evenly between outside and the gym. I like it that way. I really love my gym classes, and the awesome workout they afford me.
But my heart was sold to the great wild long ago. I LOVE being outside to work, play, and live. (Don’t mistake. I also bless the name of indoor plumbing and hot showers.) One of the best parts of working out outside is that you can go wherever the wind takes you. Literally.
My friend Emily recently started hashtagging some of her outdoor workouts #outsideisfree. That’s “outside is free”, to the lay person. She really got me thinking about just how wonderful outdoor workouts can TRULY be! (Plus her pictures are fabulous, as well. Just makes me want to be running, riding, swimming right alongside her!)
Emily is an all-around athlete. She began her active career as a high school swim champ, but has since branched out into running, cycling, an all-around outdoors woman.
She’s always loved nature. I know that from our years as fellow graduate students. Her point is well taken. Gym time can be so needed, and really necessary for many climates. But if you want a great workout, look no further than that first step out your front door.
There is something so satisfying about escaping outside to get your sweat on. The wind in your face, the views for your eyes, the sound of your breathing and heart rate and hard work all happening en plein air. It is absolutely exhilarating.
So this Monday, rain or shine, heat or cold, wind or clam, I am challenging you to break out of your rut and hit the open road! Run, bike, swim, walk, skip, dance, saunter, jog, soft pedal– it doesn’t matter the pace you keep or the company.
Just go ahead and get outside. I think you will like what you see, how you feel, and look forward to the next time you hit the trail, street, byway, or thoroughfare!
Get out there!