Now that we’re well into the New Year, and the gleam of resolutions and new gym memberships has diminished, why not try something different when it comes to fitness?
We’ve compiled a handful of low-tech, endorphin-boosting activities that will get your muscles pumping and your mind engaged. Skip the brain-numbing elliptical machines and go outside to play!
Climb a tree
One thing we don’t have in this region is mountainous terrain, but that shouldn’t keep us from climbing. Growing up in North Florida, I climbed trees every day, and I still secretly scout for the best climbing trees when I’m out and about. It’s all about finding the right tree. Identify ones that are located in recreational areas and have low-hanging branches. Large Magnolias are ideal because they have smooth bark and their branches grow horizontally and are spaced fairly close together.
Swim in the ocean
This is not the kind of swimming that involves strokes or laps. Play in the waves like kids do, preferably in choppy waters if you want to burn those calories. Just staying afloat on a windy day is a great workout.
Gymnastics in the grass
Walking (or attempting to walk) on your hands can improve balance and build strength in your upper body. Grab a friend. Find a field. Or do it solo in the backyard or a large room in your home. Start slowly, with somersaults and lots of stretching.
If you can find a nice, strong swing set for adult-sized leg-pumping, why not try a session of power swinging? It’s nice if you have kids or nieces and nephews to accompany you. The sturdier swings can be found at the older playgrounds like Boone Park in Avondale or Landon Park in San Marco. There’s also a nice tree swing at the east end of Edgewood Avenue South on a small patch of public river access.
Dig a hole
It may seem a little silly, but it seems the desire to dig is pretty universal for kids – we all loved to dig when we were little. I know I did, whether it was to find treasure, to build a sandcastle, to plant, or (much to my parents’ dismay) to engineer a homemade swimming pool. Try this: bring a shovel to the beach and dig a hole big enough to climb into. Carve out some seats and enjoy the seaside view. When the waves come in, you’ll have your own personal tide pool where interesting sea life can congregate.
These take a little more planning and collaboration, but there’s no reason your neighborhood can’t host a friendly game of tag, adults included. If you have fond childhood memories of backyard kickball games, consider joining your local kickball league. The Atlantic League, a group that meets at St. Nicholas Park, is just gearing up for the spring season. And I bet you didn’t know that we have a local cornhole league! Information about both organizations can be found on kickball.com.