In the northeast, during the months of April and May, there is a 5th season we like to call Mud Season – the outdoor recreational time of limbo when skiing, mountain biking, rock climbing, and trail running are primarily off limits. Here is a list of ideas to keep you active during this time of year:
Connect with the Pavement
Dust off your old road bike or running shoes. For those of you looking for thrills or dirt, this may seem counterintuitive, but nothing gets you in better cardiovascular shape than good old heart pumping exercise. By the time the trails dry up you’ll be ready to tackle uphill climbs faster than your riding and running partners. Remember to start off slow; you’ll be using new muscle groups that need time to adjust to impact and use.
Get Back to Center
This is the perfect time of year to start the yoga training regime you’ve been thinking about. Yoga provides you with breathing and grounding techniques that can be applied to summer sports. Try restorative yoga which opens up your body with deep stretches and relaxation to repair your muscles from winter activities; Hatha yoga to introduce yourself to the practice with simple stretching and breathing exercises; or Ashtanga yoga, a form of power yoga and total body workout that is physically and mentally challenging. Combine these practices and you’ll be ready physically and spiritually for what the summer brings.
Get a Grip
Scared of heights? I didn’t think so. Even if you are, a rock climbing gym is a great place to challenge that fear while toning and strengthening your body. Rock climbing increases cardiovascular health, improves muscle tone, and encourages weight loss and mental concentration. No need for equipment because the gym provides gear at a modest price and will introduce you to the basic techniques needed to use the gym. Look for package deals or punch cards that include discounts for multiple visits.
Release Your Inner Child
If you are like me and can’t afford a pass to the gym and neither can you picture yourself sweating next to that guy in the sleeveless t-shirt, playground training is for you. Pumping your highest on the swing, running up the ladder to the slide, swaying across the monkey bars, and hanging upside down on iron rungs is sure to increase your heart rate and get your muscles prepped for summer mischief. Boost your pull-up count by adding one a day and try out inverted sit-ups. What can be more fun than reliving the days of your youth? Borrow someone’s kid if you don’t have one of your own (if you’re looking for an excuse).
Just remember, mud season isn’t forever. Look at this time as an opportunity for activities that you’ve overlooked.
By Danielle Owczarski