Tuesday, May 14, 2013

9:02 PM
With summer on the way, now is a great time to say goodbye to the gym and take your exercise regimen outside to enjoy the benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and hopefully a nice view. Many studies have touted the benefits of spending time outside and in nature and as anyone who has tossed back a cold one after a long day of outdoor play knows, outside time is the quickest way to (at least in the moment) reverse the aging process and put the worries of work and life aside.

Below are some of my favorite ways to get in a great workout outside, either on my own or with my little ones in tow. 

1. Take a Hike. Hiking is second only to running in terms of simplicity and can easily be done solo or in groups by people of all ages and abilities, if you choose an appropriate trail. Most hikes include the rewards of a nice vistas, wildlife encounters, and the guilt-free indulgence of trail mix. Hopefully within a few miles of your house or vacation destination you can find an open space preserve or other public lands with developed hiking trails (Trails.com or GORP.com are a good resources for finding trails). If outdoorsy stuff isn't your thing, urban hikes are a great alternative (for example, see UrbanHikersSF).

2. Put the Pedal to the Metal. Last weekend, my family did a wonderful family bike ride on Angel Island which re-ignited my love of mountain biking, solo and with my kids. Now is the perfect time to ride as the trails have dried out from the winter rains, but are not yet super-dusty, and the greenery and wildflowers are eye-popping. If you don't have a bike, consider borrowing or renting one and checking out some local rides. Trust me, it is much more fun than spin class, and something you can do on vacation when you are separated from your gym. 

3. Get Wet and Slippery. Run through the sprinklers, jump in the waves, skinny dip in a secluded lake, plunge gasping into river, wakeboard, jump off a cliff, zip down a waterslide, do laps in a pool, pretend you are a synchronized swimmer, float. Anyway you slice it, nothing says summer like good old fashioned water play (and a cold margarita pool-side).

4. Run Like the Wind. My dream workout is to run while my daughter bikes alongside me. We are getting there in short distances and in short spurts, but for the most part right now my runs are solo experiences or with stroller companions. Even 30 minutes sandwiched in at lunch or before pickup is a game-changer for me as to whether it has been a hard day or a pretty good one. For example, after a stressful day of work today, my after-work run included getting to watch kite-boarders fly along the water - pretty cool and pretty stress-relieving. My kids got picked up a little later than usual, but by a very relaxed and happy mommy. Everybody wins.

5. Go Climb a Rock. Rock climbing is really fun, and actually something that you can do as a whole family if you are into it. I find that bouldering is a little easier to manage with the kids around, especially if we have selected a place where they can run around and play with minimal risk of impaling themselves or contracting poison oak. Two of my favorite "local" places to go bouldering are Turtle Rock and Goat Rock, simply because being there with the kids is so easy. Both areas have very accessible scrambles for the kids, bolts so you can set up top ropes for them, and a nice variety of adult-sized boulder problems. The views aren't bad either. For information on local climbing options, you can contact your local climbing gym or check out rockclimbing.com.

SUP Stowaway
6. SUP / Canoe / Kayak / Sail. Depending on your means and ability, taking yourself and the kids out on some form of watercraft is really fun. We are more of an SUPing family and love the exertion of paddling hard, as well the quite moments of just tooting around a water body with our little ones. I had a completely magical experience with my daughter last Christmas in Kauai when we were SUPing up a river and found ourselves paddling next to an enormous honu (sea turtle). We stayed with that amazing creature for about ten minutes, hardly daring to breathe or speak as we watched it swim, surface to breathe, and then re-submerge. My heart rate slows and I am quiet inside every time I think of that experience.

7. Just Go Play. Almost anything you do solo, with friends, or the kids outside is going to get your blood flowing, your heart pumping and your smile shining. I didn't have time to run yesterday so I played tag with my kids and the dog in the park and snuck in a few sit ups while we wrestled. Last week I tried a new class that tested my core strength and went on a family biking adventure that at first seemed like it might be too big a hassle and then turned out to be the best day everSummer is about getting out there, trying new things, living boldly and having fun. 

Hope to see you out there!

Please contact me at mommytasker@gmail.com, MommyTasker.com, or connect with me on Facebook. 


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