Who Needs the Gym when You Have Nature?
Blake Myers, Bastyr Student
It's that time of year again! When the Earth reminds us that it is time to begin to blossom out of our hibernated winter states and feed ourselves with the gifts of spring.
Monday, May 13, 2013
by: Blake Myers, Bastyr Student

Section: Seasonal Health

Blake Myers, ND Candidate

Blake Myers is a student at Bastyr University in the Naturopathic Medicine program, set to graduate in June 2014. He is a 2010 Iowa State University alum with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. His interests lie in holding onto and living the foundations of naturopathic philosophy, while sharing that philosophical wisdom with those seeking his guidance and support. Blake strives to continually evolve in his understanding of medicine and the realities of the Universe in which we belong. He shares his blog articles to give a perspective into his journey as a student and his dynamic process of growth on that path. This journey is an attempt to better understand medicine, what it means to be a healer, and how to belong to the Earth again.
We nurture ourselves in many ways during the spring.  We eat the new vitamin and mineral rich wild spring growth that we are provided.   We stimulate our vitality by celebrating the return of the sun.  With the return of the warmth and fresh air of this time of year also comes the opportunity to enjoy fun and unique ways of moving our bodies with functional and enjoyable exercise.  Two of the key aspects of maintaining effective exercise in our lives are that it is both fun and diverse. 
Common fun spring workouts can be:
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Kayaking/Canoeing/Paddleboarding
  • Gardening
  • “Spring cleaning”
  • Dancing
  • Any variety of sports (soccer, ultimate Frisbee, football, etc.)

Any of us could have come up with list and that is the point. The list we each make is there so that we have a variety of activities like these that we enjoy and begin to feed into our lives in a way that changes up and doesn’t get monotonous and boring.  
Nature also offers many opportunities for variations on some of our normal routines

Try biking to the farmer’s market or to the beach for a swim.  Maybe you’ve wanted to have a garden for years but haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Anyone who has done double digging in a yard can tell you it’s not a light task.  This year can be the year you make it happen!

Or how about the garage that’s piled up with stuff, the clogged gutters, and the dust that built up over the winter.  You know the answer.  Throw on some good tunes and get cleanin’ and dancin’!  It’s easy for us to think of things as tasks and unrelated to exercise because of our societal/cultural views on what exercise means.  All of these activities, however, have the ability to be fun, move our blood, and our chi. They can bring all of the positive benefits of exercise without the pressure we can put on ourselves of saying to ourselves, “I need to exercise”.  Let’s reframe it to, “I want to do this task and I can have fun and sweat while I do it!”  
Nature also offers many opportunities for variations on some of our normal routines.  Maybe a trail jog (much more fun and forgiving than streets), stopping and doing some pull-ups on a solid tree limb, using a rock for some strength training work, and maybe ending it with a cold plunge into the lake/river for a circulation, lymph moving and immune supportive finale.  
My goal in writing this article has not been to give set workouts, but to stimulate your own thoughts on how you can bring some variety and nature into your paradigm of exercise.  Remember to keep it functional, fun, and affordable.

Blessings and Happy Spring!
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