Friday, January 8, 2016

Outdoors vs. treadmill

I've just finished my first week of exercising in the great outdoors, rather than in a gym. All in all, I think it's a good switch. Granted, going outside in the cold and wet that first day took a bit of a push psychologically, but once I got outside I was -- as always -- happy to be outside. I've explored new city streets as well as tramped a bit in the woodland trails behind the house. There's been rain, snow, clouds and sunshine, and cold.

I think I'm getting better exercise, too. Stressing the body more. Walking on trails -- and to some extent even on city streets with curbs and broken pavement and driveway cuts and trash cans and the like -- forces the feet to move in various directions. Sidestep, step up, step down, wobble a bit on a rock or other uneven surface. All that forces the body to compensate in order to maintain balance. The lower legs in particular seem to feel it. Much, much different from walking at a steady pace on a smooth treadmill surface. I also tend to be out there for a bit longer -- so far, around 55 minutes each time as opposed to 45 on the treadmill -- and I certainly feel the fatigue in a way I rarely did on the treadmill. Especially when I'm at the bottom of that long, steep hill that brings me home! Can't say 'whew, I'm tired, gonna quit now'. Nope. The only way I'm going to get home at that point is to keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter how hard it gets. And it seemed to get particularly hard today.

I also come back with a ravenous appetite if I go out in the morning, and that certainly never happened on the treadmill! Going right after lunch seems to keep the appetite happy, as it has plenty of food to digest. Logic says I must be burning more calories, right?

The psychological boost is wonderful. I love the outdoors, I like exploring new neighborhoods, and of course I love being in the forest. The weather conditions haven't really been a factor. I've been warm and I've been dry, and that's all I need. So, while I come home physically tired, I have a wonderful psychological boost.

My new thermal tops arrived yesterday -- wore one this morning with only a thin sweatshirt over it, which came off around 10 minutes into the walk. They are fleece, kind of bulky but nice and warm and soft, and breathable. By comparison, I went out a couple of days ago wearing two of my other thermal tops, with a good hiking rain jacket over both. That jacket really holds the heat in, even though it's a breathable fabric. It has pit zips, and they haven't been zipped since my first outing in it around 11 years ago! And while I had the front zipper partly unzipped during the uphill hike, I wouldn't have taken it off. I think the rain jacket over one of these new ones would be far too warm. Temp about the same both days -- around 38f. So, a good investment.

Tomorrow I'm taking a free introductory class in Urban Homesteading, just to get more details about the upcoming classes. I can't afford all of them -- and wouldn't have much use for things like beekeeping and chickens anyway -- but I do plan on taking a few of them in the coming months.

No more exercise until Monday. Gotta give this old body a good rest!

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