Lots of unwanted disruptions this week. Did today's strength and conditioning session by the creek under the stars – in solitude. Strength + stress-relief was exactly what I needed. I always feel mentally stronger with an old-school approach. #strength #strengthandconditioning #stressrelief #stressfree #exercise #workout #athlete #outdoors #outdoorexercise #active #activelifestyle #health
There is no good time for disruptions, but sometimes it seems as if an evil fairy arranges for them to occur at the worst possible moments. It’s been a week full of disruptions (and it’s only Thursday!), so tonight the last thing I felt like doing was commuting and having to interact with other people in the gym in order to get my strength and conditioning training done.
Fortunately, I’ve been working on a program which emphasises body-weight exercises, and I’m now able to chin and pull my own body-weight (albeit not very many times.) So I really needed very little in the way of equipment – just some bars for pull-ups and dips, and a bench for back extensions and box jumps.
I live in a suburb where I am blessed with an abundance of parks and nature reserves which have not only playgrounds (which tend to be over-run with small children and their guardians!) but outdoor exercise equipment for grown people.
So, in the failing light of a clear winter’s afternoon, I was able to smash out some chin-ups, dips, pull-ups, push-ups, sumo squats, back extensions, hanging leg-raises, sit-ups and box jumps. By the time I was done, it was dark and the children had vacated the playground so I rewarded myself by going up and down the monkey bars. I felt a cheeky satisfaction in doing so. I had never really gotten the hang of the monkey bars as a child, and had envied my friends their ability to traverse them with ease. Playing on the monkey bars was not entirely irrelevant to my goals either, given that it requires grip-strength, mobility, grip placement, core strength, and unilateral movement.
I got the work done, and I felt so much calmer and happier after spending time alone in nature. Nothing in a commercial gym can rival a fresh mountain breeze and the sound of running water. Although equipment is sometimes necessary, I have always found it grounding and mentally strengthening to do these old-school, minimalist work-outs. They remind me of where I came from, what I’ve been through to get to where I am today, and they feel like an affirmation of my independence of the trappings of modernity.
I am blessed to live in a community which has taken these measures to encourage people to be active, and that I have these resources available. But even other objects – like chairs, tables and benches – can function as exercise equipment if you know how to use them, and many exercises require no equipment at all.
Although I prefer to train my clients in the gym, where I have access to a wider variety of equipment and where I don’t need to worry about unpredictable conditions, I do sometimes have clients who prefer to exercise outdoors, and tonight my experience reminded me why.
(Yesterday, while on my way to do some sprints, I discovered another benefit of exercising outdoors. I’ll leave you with some footage below!)