In the city built for cars, getting around on your feet feels a bit like entering the 1000 meter dash with your feet in a potato sack. The cars zip by, and your rate of travel seems to reach deeper and deeper levels of slow-motion, almost like you’re underwater. Trying to make your 8 O’Clock movie showing on foot seems hopeless, and some of these same feelings might stop you at the door when you decide that you want to hit the streets and get some good old-fashioned EXERCISE.
I would love to walk out my front door to a beautiful span of nature in every direction, but this is simply just not the case, and trying to do push ups and sit ups cooped up inside my house just isn’t my idea of exercise. I taught myself how to get some good exercise in the city, and I think some of the stuff I learned and the techniques I use to make city jogging fun and easy might be of help to a person in just about any city.
Finding a Route
The initial hump of exercising in the city is finding a route near you that meets your requirements and is simply an enjoyable place to exercise. Don’t settle for a dull stroll through an old-tire graveyard unless this is your forete. If driving to a location to exercise works for you, then your options are quite a bit wider, but a lot of people would do best with a nice place to go right around their house.
The next time you’ve got some spare day time, take a stroll around your neighborhood. Many people enjoy beautiful architecture and homely looking, well, homes. If you are one of these people, a particular stretch of quiet road lined with beautiful homes might be the perfect place for you to get some outdoor exercise without having to go far.
If nature is more your thing, you are going to have a bit more difficulty finding a place, but I wouldn’t give up hope just yet! Do you have any parks near your home? I have a tough time jogging or walking laps for exercise, but if you don’t mind yourself then you can likely use the trail around a small, local park as a place to get a few miles under your belt every other day. Finding a park with a walking path is “the easy way out” so to speak, and this article is meant for people who are trying to find a place to exercise in the bustling city, so I won’t go much further into this aspect of things. If you’ve got a good park around you, use it!
I think that most people enjoy becoming an “explorer” for a while and simply walking in a direction that they have not before, but this can only be done so many times if you are leaving from your house every time you begin, and it isn’t always the best idea to go wandering through unfamiliar territory when you live in a big city.
A Few General Ideas
- Head for the hills. altitude almost always creates beauty; the view from up high is inarguably better than a flat plane, especially if your view in every direction is cut short by another building. Slanted terrain is unstable, and you aren’t going to find a thick cluster of buildings in areas like this. If you’ve got any sort of mountains or even slanted roads nearby your home, you might be able to find a decent jogging, hiking, or walking trail nearby – do some snooping and see what you find.
- There are often times very popular jogging or hiking trails that you’ll be able to find pretty easily with a simple online search that specifies your area. There are actually some Amazing websites out there in which you can easily post your routes for other people to try out, or take a look at the most popular running areas in your city complete with reviews and explanations to boot. There are some great routes all across America and around the world at www.mapmyrun.com
- If you don’t have a vehicle that you can use to travel to your latest jogging route, devoting enough time to make the entire trip on foot doesn’t have to be counted out immediately. I can’t remember how many times I’ve headed out to a beautiful route on foot, decided to sit down for a minute and have a snack I brought along with me, and then maybe even stop at a restaurant on the way back for a small meal before covering the final stretch back home. You’ve gotta be careful about mapping out your route and being sure that your stamina is sufficient to handle it, but don’t forget that sitting down somewhere is perfectly OK and will probably allow you to cover even more ground overall if done periodically.
Problems With City Exercise
Crowded walk-ways or bustling sidewalks are a real turn-off for a lot of people, especially those that truly enjoy nature and exercising outdoors. While the tourist attractions in your city might be full of nice views or surrounding pathways that would be nice to jog down, you will probably only want to give this a try if you are able to go very early in the morning. Choosing times of the day in which very many people aren’t around or walking on the street can turn a frustrating push-and-shove walk to a wonderful scenic route that you might want to visit every single day!
Pollution and Air Quality
Countless joggers and people who enjoy to exercise outdoors complain of coughing and a generally more difficult time when in industrial areas or areas with a lot of vehicle traffic. It is entirely true that air pollution levels are going to be worse in a city than a wide-open countryside, especially when there aren’t very many plants around at all to create fresh oxygen, but this is not something that I’ve had too much trouble with myself.
Colder weather usually means cleaner air. You can also get an air-pollution report or online or from your daily news cast. Also, the greener an area looks or the more plants and vegetation you find in an area will help to make the air in that area much cleaner and thereby better to exercise in. Try to plan routes down streets with low volumes of traffic such as residential blocks, or head for the green and drive straight down to your nearest park.
While your fitness and health is important, your safety and well-being reside as the most important factor in all the things that make up your life. Even though the night might be an attractive time to go running because of its lack of traffic and pedestrians and the cool breeze, you should be very cautious when traveling alone at night in the city. Consider bringing pepper spray or a similar legal weapon along with you whenever you go jogging by yourself, and avoid neighborhoods that you know or believe to be unsafe.
Sore Muscles and Cramping
Often times, having a sore leg or getting a cramp the last time you were out doing some exercise is enough to keep you inside. I regularly have problems with this myself, but there are a few techniques that I now use to help keep this from happening. First of all, stretching and then warming up your muscles before you get into the heavy stuff like jogging or even power walking is extremely important. I won’t get into all the different types of stretches, I’ll save that for another article.
I often times get cramps that seem to run right along the sides of my legs after a long walk. I sometimes believe they are shin splints, but other times I just think they are plain old cramps. There’s a natural remedy that’s just called STOPS LEG CRAMPS – I take this stuff before heading out and it basically just seems to keep my muscles from cramping. It’s got apple cider vinegar and some other good stuff in it, so it might simply be a nutrient thing, but it really does seem to work like magic. They’ve also got a pretty informative Library on their website that goes into great detail about all different types of cramps – link below.
There is an entire library of information on the Stops Leg Cramps website that teaches a lot about muscles, how they cramp, and how you can stop and prevent this from happening.
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