This piece was originally published on conservator.ca, Ducks Unlimited Canada’s online magazine (which is also where I work). To check out the complete, original article click here.
Summer has finally arrived, which means I’ve ditched the gym and taken my workouts outdoors.
As I’ve been running around the Oak Hammock Marsh wetlands over the last month, I’ve started keeping track of helpful hints that might be useful to others.
If you’re planning to go running, walking or biking in a wetland this summer, a few simple tips can turn your wetland workout from ordinary to extraordinary.
One: Map your route. Wetlands come in all shapes and sizes – some with many intersecting routes to choose from. Be sure to check a map before you head out so you don’t get lost and end up running 10 miles instead of two, like I accidentally did last week.
Two: Tell a friend. If the plan is to spend a day outside flying solo, make sure someone knows where you are. Sure, everyone has a cellphone, but it’s always a good idea to let another person know your plans when working out alone.
Three: Dress for the weather. Yes, the sun is shining now. But what about this afternoon? Bringing along a few layers is always a good practice when exercising outdoors. And, don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray. Nothing dampens your post-workout bliss like itchy sunburns and mosquito bites.
Four: Bring food & water. If you get hungry or thirsty while out for a long-distance trek, you can’t pull over and visit the local Tim Hortons. Many wetlands are located in rural areas, without quick access to amenities. I know I always feel much more confident during a workout knowing I have enough food and water on hand.
Five: Bring your camera. A wetland is a thriving ecosystem. You’re bound to see countless types of wildlife along your route. Stopping and enjoying the nature you’re surrounded by is one of the reasons why you’ve visited in the first place, so take advantage of the opportunity.
One small word of warning: Be careful not to interfere too much with these natural wonders. The Canada goose – especially when nesting – can be quite territorial. I learned this the hard way and my slow-paced jog unintentionally turned into an Olympic speed sprint as a result.
And, that’s it! A wetland can be a great place to be active, so get outside and enjoy the outdoors near you.