There is seemingly no end in sight to the COVID-19 red-alert status in Kahnawake or in its immediate environs, but with gyms in the community on a one-person-at-a-time restriction, and gyms beyond that closed for the foreseeable future, the great outdoors can provide a fun way to let off some steam and get some exercise.
‘But it’s cold,’ one might complain. ‘There’s too much snow on the ground,’ is another one you’ll hear out there. Well, that shouldn’t stop anyone from getting a great cardio workout, a great strength workout, or both.
A traditional form of foot transportation, snowshoeing can be a phenomenal way to spend a brisk, sunny, winter afternoon. Find some wilderness, pack a lunch, some water and dress in easily changeable layers, and you can spend a few hours burning calories at a rate that goes much, much higher than just walking.
Add some hills, some squats and pick up your pace to a power walk for 2 minutes every half hour. Those higher-speed intervals will help you increase your baseline heart rate during regular activity and the hills and squats will help strengthen your legs. Plus, getting out and exerting in the fresh air can really make hanging out at home afterwards far more pleasant.
If snowshoeing doesn’t do it for you, maybe playing a family soccer game in the backyard, will. Just the simple fact of running in the snow is like running in the sand, and works your legs in a way you maybe aren’t ready for. Put two pylons down to make a net, and off you go. Two five-minute halves timed out can light up even the most reserved competitive spirit and can be quite a great workout as well.
Personally, my family and I like to play two-on-two touch football in the green space near our home. The running alone is exhausting, and the fact that we all want to win really amps up the intensity of our running. Then we have hot chocolate after, no matter who wins.
If you’re going solo and looking for a way to get a strength workout outdoors, there’s always the anywhere workout. All you need is a location with an elevated platform that’s not too far off the ground like a step or a bench, preferably one with a dry grip that will prevent falls. Bring a backpack that can carry something a little heavy and do the following simple set: 15 squats, 10 step ups on each of your legs, 15 push-ups (could be on a guardrail or bar; remember to keep back straight and bend elbows to the side) and a 30-second front plank. Add weight to the backpack or remove it as needed. Take a break for 45 seconds and start again. Repeat set 4 to 20 times as needed.