I love to be outside, especially when working out. Lifting weights and running on a treadmill can get pretty boring after a while … and like most people, if exercise is boring, I won’t do it. So on my quest to find something new to do outdoors, I came across an old style of exercise that most of us can do at any number of parks in the local area.
There are a couple of parks in Ventura with fitness stations that are under construction, but I found an open one that loops around the harbor. Now, I had never done anything like this before but have a basic concept of most of the stations, so I trotted eagerly to the first station. After stretching my calves, I moved into hamstring stretch. Continuing on I then stepped up on a knee-high pole for 15 times on each side. At this point, I had a good sweat going and curious people watching my every move. I moved on, and found a set of rings to hang from and stretch my arms and back muscles. By this time, I was truly having fun and doing things I never really thought I would do. It was a tough workout, though, and I had to tell myself to keep it up.
The next station was my favorite; there were four different levels on an all-flat board set at different angles with a handle to grab onto. I had to bring my knees up to my chest in a reverse sit-up type of movement. I moved to the second hardest level and definitely felt the burn.
Other stations I went to focused on traditional calisthenics moves like jumping jacks and high kicks. The course ended with pull-ups, and the bars were set at different heights for different sizes of people. After I went through all the stations, I followed the trail on a leisurely walk in the neighborhood and went back to the start.
If I was feeling ambitious, I could have done the circuit twice. However, I thought I’d better see what the next day would bring in terms of muscle soreness and fatigue, as I had done things that were new to me and my muscles.
It turns out taking things slow was a good idea; the next morning I had that pleasant tight muscle feeling all over my body, from my back to my stomach to my rear end. Talk about a total body workout! Now I have a great way to supplement my regular workouts, and once again, I found it outside.
A fitness trail usually consists of a one-mile loop that has several exercise stations varying from stretches to resistance. For those of you who might be interested in this type of workout, I recommend walking the loop first to familiarize yourself with the exercises. This will also help you to warm up prior to starting the trail. What a great way to spice up your routine!
Following is a list of some parks in the Ventura and Oxnard area with fitness trails.
• Seaside Park in Ventura
• Westport at Mandalay Bay
• in Oxnard
• Coming soon: Seabridge
• in Oxnard
Make sure you check with your doctor prior to starting any new fitness program and as always: remember … you’re worth it!