While it’s true I’ve been going to the gym a lot more lately, it’s NOT because I think going to the gym is the only — or even the best — place to exercise. Au contraire, Pierre! As a matter of fact, during this past week, I haven’t set foot in a gym, and yet I managed to get some perfectly cromulent exercise under my belt!
See, out here in sunny Southern California, we have this annual weather phenomenon known as “June gloom.” According to the always reliable Wikipedia entry:
June Gloom is a Southern California term for a weather pattern that results in cloudy, overcast skies with cool temperatures during the late spring and early summer.
It’s usually in June (duh!), but sometimes, like this year, it stretches its icky tentacles back into May. The City Council unanimously voted to rename it “May Grey” (though they continue to dispute the “Grey/Gray” spelling), and it seems to have become a more or less permanent fixture out here these past couple of years.
However, as depressing as all those icky clouds may be, there’s always a silver lining, and that silver lining is that May Grey (Gray) and June Gloom (Glüm) are GREAT for outdoor exercisers! I’ve actually enjoyed bypassing the gym this past week, and ambled all around the achingly beautiful San Fernando Valley.
And there’s lots of other stuff you could do outdoors, too, thus seguing neatly into my Friday Five list:
- Walking. (See above!) In case you didn’t already know, walking outdoors is my all-time fave exercise. Mainly because it’s so interesting — you can walk around the same area multiple times and see something different every time. Whereas on the treadmill, I’m pretty much seeing the same thing: a TV screen and a brick wall. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Still, given a choice, I’d prefer this — wouldn’t you?
- Biking. Pull that rusty ol’ Schwinn out of the garage, wipe off the dust and spiderwebs, pump some air into the tires, and roll! More and more cities have dedicated bike paths, so if it’s been a while, you should be able to find someplace to practice without worrying about evil bike-hating drivers.
- Exercise with a friend, or perhaps just a casual acquaintance. I go to the Sepulveda Basin sometimes to do my walks. It’s a great place — basically a big giant neighborhood park on steroids. But even in the smaller neighborhood parks, there’s groups of people who work out together. Some groups do yoga or Tai Chi, others do more strenuous stuff.
The basic idea, I guess, is that if you’re embarrassed to move your body around in public, you’ll be slightly less embarrassed if a few other people are standing next to you doing the same thing. (Hmm, wonder if that’s how churches got started!)
- Get your game on. I’m definitely NOT a sports aficionado, but I understand there are people who enjoy throwing or hitting balls, aiming for things like nets or bases or goals or some such nonsense. Maybe you can find some other like-minded people who want to throw or hit things, gather them onto an appropriate field of some sort, and throw/hit some balls together. It may not be MY thing, but it’s definitely exercise, so go for it!
- Swimming. I left this for last, because honestly, who wants to jump into an icky, ice-cold lake or, God forbid, ocean when it’s cloudy and gloomy? Still, there are a lot of nutty people out there who prefer the cheap showiness of nature to that beautiful, clean (or at least clean -LOOKING!) pool at the gym. So, if there’s some form of water near you that’s big enough to swim in, go for it! That’s definitely some good cardio there, if you don’t get eaten by sharks, which, as I understand from my TV viewing, happens quite a bit.
So definitely, enjoy the outdoors before the temps zoom up into the stratosphere and we have to go back to the air-conditioned treadmills. Just watch out for the sharks!
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