You know, that OTHER gym.

I don’t know about everywhere else, but Spring finally decided to spring into action here on the coast in Maine at about 5:02 p.m. last Thursday. It’s decided to stick around, and now the weathermen are crying that we NEED rain. Please, after an entire month of it and a good snowfall winter? My quarry level is HIGH, in all the years I’ve owned my home, that’s never happened. I’m a non-believer that we need rain right now.

Anyway… 20 million hours of outdoor time over a 72-hour stretch has me a little crispy and toasty, but I’d do it all over again. My favorite thing about the warming weather? I get to be outside in the big gym known as “Nature”.

I did my annual Run Up The Mountain with friends on Friday afternoon, knocking five minutes off my time from last year. How? I didn’t just train for it by running, I worked the CRAP out of my body to build up strength. Why? Have you ever run up a mountain? It’s not easy. There’s lots of pulling your body weight up with those legs, holding your body up with your arms and using that core of yours to keep yourself balanced on loop-de-loops of rocks and dirt declines. But, even after the run, I’d never felt more sore than I ever have doing anything in the gym. Nature truly is the best “gym” in existence. My legs were dead from the infinite lunge-like, squat-like, box-jump-like moves. My back and arms were on fire from the constant pull, push, tug, hold-on-for-dear-life that got me to the top.

But it didn’t end there. I spent the entire day Saturday raking, digging, hauling 80-pound bags of dirt and 40-pound bags of grass seed. I have a cart like you see at greenhouse/nurseries that I used to haul rocks to finish my gardens. I would load it up until I was afraid the platform would break, then use it almost like a slide. Talk about a hell of a glute and hammy work out. Those suckers got iced that night.

I have a riding lawnmower to mow my lawn (I mow roughly a full acre), but most of the time you’ll see me out there pushing my other lawnmower across that giant lawn. It’s self-propelled, and my father even made sure it was a Personal Pace one that fell off the truck (gotta love family businesses), but I still push it, because I move faster than it at its fastest speed. Four hours later, not only do I have a good cardio workout, but my legs, back and arms are spent too. Although it didn’t stop me from an evening paddle in my kayak.

When it’s nice out, get outside. Use the world as your gym. It gives you the opportunity to use muscles, without thought or effort that you normally have to specifically target in the gym to work. Not only will you get a pretty intense workout, but you’ll be breathing the fresh air and getting some good ole Vitamin D (and who doesn’t want the Vitamin D to make them happy?).

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