Moving to the country as idyllic as it can be waking up to nature and staring at nothing but the mountains in front of you versus the neighbors backyard also has some drawbacks to it. At my old house, I lived 8 minutes door to door from the house to the office. When the weather got nice, sometimes I would walk or bike into work. It was a great way to mix it up from the regular gym (which was also conveniently located a floor above my office).
Nowadays, I spend A LOT of time driving. My office is quite a distance from the house, and since the gym is not conveniently located at the new office, the thought of making another detour to find a gym- at the beginning or end of the day just isn’t cutting it. I guess this is one of the challenges to living in the country. You have to be disciplined to get a run or a workout in and most of the time you do it alone since there isn’t a gym or exercise class within a reasonable distance.
So I’ve adjusted my routine and am taking advantage of my surroundings to make the most of getting fit in the country. The best part is with this great weather and longer days, there is more variety in things to do, like rolling out a mat and doing a yoga series on the deck.
First of all, we walk and hike ALOT! Gunnar may be the best workout buddy yet, because his energy is endless (like black hole endless). Sometimes to mix it up we wander and “Shed Hunt” which means just lot of hiking and looking, it’s also great to stray from the regular route.
I find I benefit more from short, intense workouts that raise my heart rate. Walking and hiking is great but I didn’t really start noticing results until I downloaded a Tabata timer on my phone and started doing short workouts with one or two intervals. The great part is, it’s only 4 minute intervals- so if you’re crunched for time, or don’t have access to a gym you can kick up the intensity with whatever exercise you want to tackle. I also find it great to be able to add to the walk I’m doing, some sprint intervals are great for that.
Here’s an example of a Tabata workout.
It’s also great to go outside and use the natural features like rocks or stumps to do box jumps or tricep dips. I find I get a work out alone just working on the acreage doing yard works and chores, but you can also stop for a moment to throw in some other exercise.
I also started tracking my exercise and it’s pushed me to work harder or add more into my daily routine. When I attended the opening of Sport Chek Women here in Calgary at the beginning of March, I was lucky enough to be given a Mio Slice Fitness Tracker. Now I have tried all sorts of activity trackers and pedometers before, but the information always seemed a bit limiting and I would soon loose interest and abandon it. So I’ve been using the Slice for about a month now and have come to love it.
What I find different about it is the fact that it’s a heart rate activity tracker featuring PAI (Personal Activity Intelligence), a new system that translates your heart rate data and personal profile into one simple score. The goal is to keep your PAI over 100 over a rolling 7 day period. And it tracks all and any activity, so you don’t have to be running or walking to get a score, you could be gardening, kayaking or swimming- it all counts. It also tracks sleep activity (I didn’t realize how little “great” sleep I actually get, so I’m making changes to improve that as well).
Overall now that the weather is blissful (ok, the snow has melted), it’s all that easier to get outside and be more active- just in time for short and swim suit season! And I forgot to mention the power that nature can have on us. Studies have shown that simply looking at pictures of nature can lower blood pressure, stress and mental fatigue. So for all us country ladies, we have an automatic advantage, walking alone out on the farm or in the woods can improve measures of revitalization, self-esteem, energy and pleasure while decreasing frustration, worry, confusion, depression, tension and tiredness so head outside! I often say the mountains are my chapel and believe it the more I get out, plus a cute outfit never hurts 😉
For anyone around Calgary area looking for a cool spot to go for a run or walk this spring, how about a highway with a Rocky Mountain view all to yourself? Highway 40 is closed until June 15th each year, so you can enjoy the road all to yourself and get a great view while you stroll.