February 23rd, 2021
Take your workout outside
Gyms get bigger when the weather gets warmer. Our workouts move from the spin room to the roads, from the rowing machine to actual water. The entire state becomes an aerobics class, a yoga studio, and boot camp rolled into one. Except there’s no bass-fueled workout mix pumping through the sound system. But there is the scent of pine and that ocean sound the trees make when the wind rustles their leaves. There’s also actual ocean sounds. And birds and grassy fields, and sunshine (well, most of the time).
There’s no shortage of ways to break a solid sweat or give our quads a good run for their money in Maine’s outdoors. We can trade in the treadmill for mountain trails and give the dumbbells a rest while we exhaust our arms with a little help from a kayak paddle. But as invigorating as it is to work out in the the great outdoors, it’s even better when you have workout buddies who will pant and sweat and have a grand time with you. (Other people are the best motivators and you’ll have the pleasure of meeting people who like doing the stuff you like doing.)
There are a ton of groups you can connect with to hike, bike, paddle, and run. Meetup.com is an excellent place to scout for informal groups in your neck of the woods (the Let’s Go Do Stuff meetup, for example, often plans paddles and hikes that are really welcoming to beginners). And groups like MOAC (Maine Outdoor Adventure Club), sheJAMs (a women’s-only group that does swimming, cycling, and running), and Hike It Baby (a hiking club for parents and kids) are stupendous ways to get active outside, even if you’re new to outdoor adventuring.
There are also outdoor bootcamps and yoga classes that will have you planking in the sand and downward dogging in the grass all season long. Here are but a few!
Boot camp on the beach
It’s like the boot camp you’re used to, except you’ll do lunges, jumping jacks, sprints, and push-ups in the sand! Biddeford Saco Boot Camp runs year-round on the beaches of Biddeford Pool. Instructor Dana Johnson keeps things lively with team games and always-changing workouts, but you will sweat. A lot. But hey, if things get too hot, just take a plunge into the ocean. It’s right there!
Biddeford Saco Boot Camp
6-6:45 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, year-round at Fortunes Rocks Beach, Middles Beach, Bath House Beach in Biddeford Pool. $12 drop-in, $99 4-week session, $150 6-week session. www.biddefordsacobootcamp.com
Run the Trails
The scenery on a trail run beats the scenery on a treadmill. Always. And there’s something about running through the trees that makes you seem so much faster. In the greater Portland area, the Trail Monsters Running group meets three times a week in places like Bradbury State Park in Pownal, Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, and Falmouth Community Park and Blackstrap Hill Preserve in Falmouth. Runners range in age and pace (some are training for long endurance races and others just like a good run in the woods). In the Midcoast, check out Trail Runners of Midcoast Maine. They run Monday nights at Camden Snow Bowl.
Trail Monsters Running
6 p.m. Tuesdays at Falmouth Community Park, 8 a.m. Saturdays at Bradbury Mountain State Park or Pineland Farms, and 8 a.m. Sunday at Blackstrap Hill Preserve (locations may change, so check in advance). Free • trailmonsterrunning.com
Trail Runners of Midcoast Maine
6 p.m. Mondays at Camden Snow Bowl, Camden.
Free • www.trailrunnersofmidcoastmaine.com
Do Yoga in A Park
Your tree pose is going to feel so at home during yoga in the park. And your bare feet will appreciate the grass. Fresh Air Yoga brings a peaceful vinyasa flow class outside. It’s open to all ages and levels, too, so even if you’re new to yoga, give it a try. Classes run Wednesday until Sept. 7. Check yogainyourpark.com for yoga classes in Bar Harbor, too.
Fresh Air Yoga
6-7:15 p.m. Wednesdays at Payson Park, Portland
Text and photos: Shannon Bryan.
Shannon loves to get active in Maine – from aerial yoga to moonlight paddles — and she writes about them all (to encourage you to try them too!) on FitMaine.com.