Free to Cheap Physical Activity: Spring Edition

This weekend has a few holidays in it- Easter and Passover will be coming in along with those days off. While dreaming of how to make the holiday dinner a bit easier and pondering how to avoid the abundance of candy at the store/ in your house, you might find yourself thinking about the sunshine.
Photo by David Paul Ohmer

Spring is here (kinda, depending on the day) and, with that comes beautiful weather (sometimes) and occasionally a desire to be outside. So, I'm heading out there and taking some of my workout with me. Not only is it free (or cheap), but playing in the great outdoors can provide you with a variety of surfaces, challenges, and settings, give you some fresh air (again, depending on the day), and a dose of sunshine. 

Like I mentioned in my free to cheap winter physical activity guide, Health Canada recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week (for adults age 18-64), in spurts of no shorter than 10 minutes.There are different guidelines for different age groups, but the message is still that moving is, generally, good for you. Getting fit for free is even nicer, so why not: 

Run, Jog, Walk. 
The mountain is great for all of these and I really like it, but it is a hill, and it might be a little far for some. However, a walk can take place just about anywhere. Opt to use your legs instead of the metro and you'll get where you're going on top of exercising. Running or jogging on the street is not my favourite thing, but aside from the mountain, there are tracks at some high schools (soft surfaces, Yay!), and some other calmer places to go. Check out here for some info on running in Montreal and try this site if you're looking for some user-created jogging route inspiration wherever you are.

This activity will cost you your clothing (wearing something is probably a good idea), perhaps a water bottle, and, mostly, the price of your shoes. Depending on how fancy you want to get, the surface you're going to be on, and what you're going to be doing, this could be nothing, the cost of everyday shoes, or something a little more pricey. *Be safe. Run in well lit places/with your dog/ friend/ club/ avoid sketchy places. Use your judgement-you should feel comfortable.

Photo by omahgarsh

Bike, Rollerblade, Skateboard
Cities are becoming a little smarter about people-powered transport and are adding bike lanes to their plans. In Montreal, many of these bike paths line city streets, but there are some far away from the traffic. I've seen unicyclers, skateboarders, joggers, and rollerbladers sharing it with regular (and not so regular) bikes, so bust out your wheels. Word to the wise: some paths are safer than others, so watch out for other road users, stay visible at night, and it's always a good idea to wear your helmet. 

If you're lacking wheels, BIXI has some pretty reasonable deals for loaners, as do friends who owe you a favour :p. For a more permanent arrangement, check out craigslist or kijiji, garage sales, or secondhand stores- just make sure to buy a nice lock too if you'll have to leave what you've bought outside.

Here are a few links I like about rolling in the city:

Photo by jekert gwapo
One of the things I want to try this summer is using park equipment for weight training. Jungle gyms, benches, bleachers, and other features can all be used for work and play. The City of Montreal has a list of parks according to the burrough. Find your area in the map and click on "Activit├ęs et loisirs" for a list of parks (note that not all pages are available in English).

If you don't live on the island, or you borough de-merged, a search will generally bring you to your town's website. Not only are you likely to find a list of parks, but also information about fitness activities offered by the town. Here's Westmount's park list and map, for example.  

If you do decide to head to where the kids play, don't be an equipment hog. It's just nice to share.

Whatever you do, enjoy the warm weather and keep active.

Do you have any suggestions for getting fit as it gets warmer, fitting it into the schedule, or favourite exercises away from the workout gear? I'd love more suggestions. And- if you like what you read, don't forget to share, subscribe, or follow me on Twitter or Pinterest.

Live well, Charlotte


  1. I think skipping ropes are making a comeback also. I even seen some with weights in the handles to make your skipping session a bit more intense.

    1. Good call. Great cardio and it reminds me of being a kid :). I've never tried it, but the weights in the handles sound like an awesome idea too.

      Enjoy the warm weather!


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