When I go to the park, I look around and I see just that, a park.

There are picnic tables, benches, playground equipment, all the usual stuff.

But my husband sees so much more than that. He sees the park as his own outdoor fitness facility.

A couple of weeks ago, I got away from work a bit early — during daylight hours — so we threw on our sneakers, leashed up the dogs and drove to Carl Levin Park in Harker Heights. Before we left, I knew my husband had plans to utilize the pull-up bars and the sit-up bench lining the walking trail, but with every object he saw, he seized the opportunity to add another exercise to the visit. It all turned into quite a workout.

We normally don’t go to the gym together, or if we do, we quickly part ways as I head toward the cardio equipment or the yoga studio and he toward the scary side of the gym. The side filled with machines and weights and contraptions of torture I will never understand.

But outdoors, watching his mind work, I saw a side of my husband I had never seen in our nearly three years of marriage. Where I am creative with words, he is creative with fitness.

As we walked around the trail, my husband stopped me at nearly every object we passed. At the picnic tables we did box jumps, at another we did leg lifts, and even when passing the large stones separating the park from the roadway, we did tricep dips. Because I can’t do pullups, my husband taught me how to use the lower bar and modify the exercise so I still got a good arm and chest workout.

I’ve done outdoor sports and enjoy walking outside for exercise, but this was the first time I’d ever done these sorts of exercises outside a gym. I’ve even brought my yoga mat outdoors, but never done a pushup in the grass.

I’m not a huge fan of this sort of activity in general, but the combination of the weather and the company made it almost enjoyable.

It was an absolutely beautiful day outside — the sun was shining and a breeze made the June Texas heat bearable. There’s something about being out in the sunshine instead of tucked inside an air-conditioned, overcrowded gym filled with people plugged into their iPods.

It felt somewhat freeing.

After one lap around the walking trail, stopping to do different exercises, it was clear who the athletes in the family were.

My husband, despite doing double the reps and dripping in sweat, and our red heeler were ready for another lap, while myself and our wiener dog were searching for shade and gasping for water.

I can definitely see myself going back out to the park soon to try this routine again. It was a great way to involve the four-legged members of the family into exercise, add some variety and soak up some vitamin D.


Contact Rose L. Thayer at rthayer@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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