This week I was most grateful for an active community. Twice this week, my husband and I worked out at a local park and went running on a popular trail. Other than hanging out with each other, the thing we loved most was interacting with the other people around us. The best part of reaching the top of St. Joseph’s mountain wasn’t only the beautiful view of the entire south Bay Area, but also listening to three nine year old boys tell glory stories about their epic bike up the mountain!
Fellow hikers and bikers cheered us on as we ran up the trail, and we shared words of encouragement with others as we made our way down. There’s something special about making a small connection with a complete stranger. As an athlete who misses team sports, it’s always motivating and fun for me to be “teammates” with someone, even if it’s only for one moment.
Another highlight was working out at La Rinconada Park, which I affectionately call “Turtle Park,” due to the huge cement turtle that used to be in the playground when I was a kid. We still use the playground, but instead of the slides and tire swings, we spend our time doing various arm, core, and leg exercises on the monkey bars and steps up to the wiggly bridge. This short strength circuit (we make up a new one each time) is preceded by a few games of “soccer tennis” that we play on the lone, but extremely popular tennis court. It involves juggling and serving the ball back and forth across the net. My husband and I met and fell in love playing soccer in college, where he also played tennis. He usually kicks my butt, but we love the fun competition.
Again, the thing I loved most during this last visit to the park was watching the other people – some dog walkers, a dad teaching his daughter tennis, and a group of moms and dads all working out together while their kids played on the playground. What a great idea! They had made up a sort of circuit that involved using the picnic tables as equipment and breaking up their strength exercises with short jogs up and down the oak tree forest that runs along the park.
“Be active in your community” has a whole new meaning for me! You should try it!
Here’s an example of the strength circuit we do at the park. You can adjust the number of reps or circuits to your level. We do only 3 sets and I’m exhausted! And only 15 minutes!
40 yrd jog
10 platform jumps (onto a playground step or bench)
3-5 knees to elbows (Bar hang, and use your core to pull your knees to your elbows and touch your feet to the bar your arms are holding. No worries if you can’t reach, the move still works.)
20 split jump lunges
5 jump pull-ups (jump up to the bar but then take a count of 4 or 5 as you slowly lower yourself down)