exercise averse? outdoors (even a park) is your gym

sally schneider

sally schneider

I used to know a brilliant Reichian therapist who disdained exercise machines. “They make the body stupid”, she said. She believed that physical exercise should take the form of conscious, pleasurable movement that had a reason, not something done mindlessly while watching tv or reading. I’ve thought of this often as I’ve wondered at my resistance to working out at gyms, and to rote exercise in general. What is the way that will get me exercising regularly and happily? What are ways that will work for folks like me that dislike (or can’t afford)  gyms, and for whom exercise is a challenge and discipline?

One answer may be simply: do what gives you pleasure. As I walk frequently through the park across the street from me (pleasurable!), I see the various ways that my neighbors have devised to use the park itself as a plein air gym. “Equipment” is everywhere in surroundings of trees, birds, fresh air.

A flight of stone steps makes the perfect “Stairmaster”. Quick walks up, and slow ones down, make for a vigorous interval training. I’ve often spotted the local hawk from the top of these stairs.

steps as stairmaster

sally schneider

A granite outcropping known as Mount Morris makes for a fine climbing wall…

sally schneider

sally schneider

A half-hour’s workout climbing around left me sore the next day…

sally schneider

sally schneider

Several meadows provide soft grassy ground for skipping, jogging, walking, tai chi…

Loose paving stones, bricks and rocks make excellent free weights. I’ve seen guys in the park lifting massive ones in their exercise routines. I lugged one home to see what it weighed (above), so I could learn to calibrate how much weight I might work out with.

sally schneider

sally schneider

I’ve seen all sorts of people using found and/or rigged equipment for their fresh-air workouts. There’s a regular group that intersperses their daily workout with games of poker…

sally schneider

sally schneider

No matter where you live, whether in urban or rural settings, there are always opportunities to MOVE, with pleasure and meaning.

Herre are some more ideas for the exercise-averse:

 grace jones hula hoops to the rhythm (one cool workout)

skipping as exercise (we dare you to try it)

2 simple, potent strategies to get yourself exercising

your body and other improvised gyms

hula hoop dreams (exercise as play)x

hula-hooping as life-changing exercise

the fun theory of doing things that are good-for-us

“get up off that thing”: improv exercise for home or work

 

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