In summertime, I usually ditch the gym and take my workouts outdoors. And I thought I’d keep track of helpful hints that might be useful to others.
If you’re planning to go running, walking or biking in a wetland, a few simple tips can turn your wetland workout from ordinary to extraordinary.
ONE: MAP YOUR ROUTE
Wetlands come in all shapes and sizes – some with many intersecting routes to choose from. Stay on marked trails. Be sure to check a map before you head out so you don’t get lost and end up running 10 miles instead of two, like I accidentally did last week.
TWO: TELL A FRIEND
If the plan is to spend a day outside flying solo, make sure someone knows where you are. Sure, everyone has a cellphone, but it’s always a good idea to let another person know your plans when working out alone.
THREE: DRESS FOR THE WEATHER
Yes, the sun is shining now. But what about this afternoon? Bringing along a few layers is always a good practice when exercising outdoors. And, don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray. Nothing dampens your post-workout bliss like itchy sunburns and mosquito bites.
FOUR: BRING FOOD & WATER
If you get hungry or thirsty while out for a long-distance trek, you can’t pull over and visit the local Tim Hortons. Many wetlands are located in rural areas, without quick access to amenities. I know I always feel much more confident during a workout knowing I have enough food and water on hand.
FIVE: BRING YOUR CAMERA
A wetland is a thriving ecosystem. You’re bound to see countless types of wildlife along your route. Stopping and enjoying the nature you’re surrounded by is one of the reasons why you’ve visited in the first place, so take advantage of the opportunity. You’re carrying your cell phone anyway (right??) so take some quick snaps along your route!
One small word of warning: Be careful not to interfere too much with these natural wonders. The Canada goose – especially when nesting – can be quite territorial. I learned this the hard way and my slow-paced jog unintentionally turned into an Olympic speed sprint when a hissing goose lunged at my legs.
And, that’s it! A wetland can be a great place to be active, so get outside and enjoy a wetland near you.