So many people immediately think of the gym when it comes time for exercise, but there are other options. While the gym is great and holds a large amount of useful equipment, there are several activities that can be moved outside.
The first and easiest thing to think about is running. In a gym you spend your time running on a treadmill or around a track. This can be beneficial because you know exactly how long you have to run or you can finish whenever you want, but that can easily feel like a chore. It gets strenuous rather than enjoyable.
When you go running outside you have a few options. Several people run on the sidewalk around town, which is a great and safe option as long as you remain present and aware of your surroundings.
Another option is to find an outdoor track. This holds the benefits of being outside and has the same perks as the gym track. You have a marked space with a set distance, and parking is close so you can leave whenever you want. The old track on Auburn’s campus or the path around the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts are great outdoor tracks open for public use most of the time.
Trails are also a good option. Nature trails have the most negatives as well as the greatest benefits. Trails aren't smooth or as easy to navigate as a track. There can be roots, rocks or leaves to trip over or slip on, so it's necessary to pay attention. There's also potential to get lost on the trail if you aren't familiar with the trails.
All this being said, a trail provides adventure that a gym or track never will. The scenery changes constantly and takes you to beautiful places you did not know existed. It provides a way to lose yourself in the run and let your mind wander.
Trails vary in difficulty, so there are different types of runs you can do, like uphill or flat. Some of the more challenging trails are a great workout to even just walk.
There are several places in the city limits such as Kiesel Park or Town Creek Park that have some outdoor workout equipment. Both of these parks are smaller and have limited equipment options, but their proximity is great.
Chewacla State Park and Tuskegee National Forest have more options. Chewacla has a park entry fee, but this is because of how well maintained it is. There are many trails that are well kept all over the park. These trails take you to two waterfalls, a lake, alongside a creek and all with beautiful trees lining each trail. You can listen to your headphones or the wonderful sounds of nature. The birds, water and breeze create a beautiful melody.
Tuskegee also has several hiking options. Although it's further away, it's free. It's important to look at a map here because the trails are not marked as well. The Bartram Trail is 8 miles long and takes you through most of the park with beautiful views. Being a national forest, the gravel roads can also be a great place to exercise and are easily accessible.
Before you start any trail you should do some research. Whether that be online, asking someone else or just walking the trail yourself, it's good to know what to expect. This isn't hard to do and definitely worth the reward.
You are not just confined to running though. There are many types of cardio exercises that can be done anywhere, so why not do them outside? Biking, swimming, yoga or any bodyweight exercise is easy and fun to do surrounded by nature.
With a small amount of research you can gather enough information to have a great experience. Exercising outside changes your perspective. It morphs from boring to something to look forward to.