Find The Hidden Gym in Your Neighborhood

One of the things that I frequently hear from people about their workout routines and the difficulty they have with them is that “it’s too hard to get to the gym.”  There’s this mindset that the only place they can work out is in the sterile confines of some sort of health club – with free weights and Nautilus machines (I’m probably dating myself), Zumba and aerobics classes, and rows and rows of treadmills, exercise bikes, and stairmasters. Luckily, you have a hidden gym available almost 24/7.

I’m going to show you just that today with my first Mudlife Crisis video:

So what’s in this video?  Basically, it’s me.  Walking around my neighborhood, checking out some of the features therein, and demonstrating some ways that you can use the stuff you find to get some real, natural movement. And showing you that hidden gym that we all have.

This one is some lighter fare.  Lots of balance and jumping work, the sorts of things that we should all be practicing on a regular basis.  Most of it isn’t anything you can’t do walking down the street.  We’ll get into some more strenuous stuff another time as you get started with the use of your new neighborhood gym.

Some things I want to point out, and left in the video specifically because I wanted to point out how important they are:

  1.  People are going to see you doing this stuff.  They’d see you if you were at a gym, too.  So get out there and do it in front of them.  I had kids yelling, parents tossing frisbees and kicking soccer balls with their children near me, and more.  It was fine – I was just a guy working out around them.  I purposefully left some shots of me screwing up a bit on exercises so that you’d see that and know that it’s okay to screw up a bit in front of people.  You’re probably doing more than most of them just by trying any of these.
  2. On the other hand, be careful.  My neighborhood has a ton more stuff that I could have done (and, I won’t lie, have done in the morning hours before most people wake up) but I didn’t want to encourage you to do dead-lifts with decorative stones, jump up and down on rock walls, and the like.  I did my tree-climbing in a park next to a baseball field, for example.  I found the logs I squat with and throw around in a schoolyard.  I did my hanging on a tree in front of my own house – with our Halloween decorations still up!  And stuff like that.
  3. Expand your horizons.  A baseball backstop or a soccer goal can be a great place to climb, hang, do pull-ups, and more.  A basketball hoop or the uprights on a football field can be an opportunity to do some pole-climbing.  And don’t forget about playgrounds!
  4. Trees, curbs, playgrounds and ballfields, walls, and more are part of your hidden gym.  You can use them no matter what you’re wearing, where you are, etc.  I walk my son home from school every day and more often than not find myself walking on the curb, balancing, squatting, side-stepping, or whatever.  It’s fun and it’s valuable!
  5. It doesn’t have to be about working up a sweat all the time.  Just practicing basic movements is absolutely valuable – it gives you the opportunity to practice stuff that you’d be doing daily and even hourly if you were living in nature like we evolved to do.  Remember the idea of reverse-acclimation:  the stuff that you can get used to is also stuff that your body is used to doing, even expects to do and benefits from.

So get out there – and let me know what you think of this!  Too easy?  Too hard?  Too embarrassing?

Let’s discuss it in the comments, and please share this with your friends and followers on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

 

  • ryanrauch

    And, how much more fun are workouts like these where you aren’t sure where you might go when you walk out the door? I like to add these types of exercises to my runs. I have a route where I run about .5 mi to the elementary school where I do some box jumps on a loading dock and some pull ups on the playground. Run another .5 to a park where I do some burpees at center court, and another mile to another park where I do some side to side jumps, high knees, and more burpees. Go back and hit the same spots on the way home. Good stuff, Jamie!

    • Thanks! And… agreed. You can tailor your workout to how you’re feeling, what’s available, what your goals are, and more, all as you go along your route. All you have to know is where you’re going.

      Another benefit to this sort of workout is that, over time, you’ll get a situational awareness change that I alluded to in my post How Sidewalk Running Improves Mind and Body a while back. You start to look at your routes, your surroundings, and the possibilities/dangers of the area with a different mindset. It’s sort of cool when you’re passing a house and suddenly see an overhang, perhaps over the house’s air conditioning unit but just within reach, and you think “whoa – I could get onto that house’s roof.”

      Don’t do it, of course, unless it’s your own house and you can prove it, but you get my drift. 🙂