• Michelle Callahan

4 Places to Get an Outdoor Workout Before Summer Ends (insert sad face).

I don't know about you, but I LOVE summer. Like I live for the 3 short months that are Erie summers. June is full of optimism and excitement that summer is finally here. July is hot and humid and probably unlike most, I relish those scorching hot days. There is no temperature too hot for this girl. Then comes August and even though it's still summer, I feel a sense of dread because I can see the end of summer coming. And yes, I know we can have some amazing warm and sunny days in September and, on a good year, even October, but August to me is the beginning of the end of the season I love the most...and it makes me feel a little sad. So in an effort to soak up all the summer goodness that I can, I will try to jam in as many outdoor activities as possible this month. Thinking about all the things I want to fit in made me want to share with you a few of my favorite places to get in an outdoor workout in the summer. There's something about going hiking, biking or kayaking that makes working out more fun. Maybe it's being outdoors, maybe it's because I feel like they are less formal workouts then going to the gym or maybe it's the fact that I can get my family involved that make me enjoy these workouts so much. Whatever the reason, I love staying active with these activities during the summer. So, here it is...my list of must try places to get an outdoor workout before the inevitable end of the sweet, sweet summer.

1. Hiking at Asbury Woods

Hiking is one of my favorite outdoor activities to do, and I've hiked many different places in PA. Even though I've lived in Erie my whole life, I'd never really been to Asbury Woods until this year when we went for a hike with the On the Move Adventure group*. Heading there, I had no idea what to expect, however I was pleasantly surprised. The trails were well groomed, there were a few small inclines to keep it interesting and the trail was actually longer then I expected. This would be a great place to hike as a family, try out some trail running, or just hike alone to clear your mind and soak in some beautiful nature. The best part about it is that it's practically right in your own back yard. Not traveling an hour or two to find a good hiking trail allows you to hit this trail on a beautiful summer evening after work or an early weekend morning to get a workout in before the busy weekend gets away from you. You can check out the website (click here) to view the trail guide and get information on the many different things that go on at Asbury Woods.

2. Biking at Oil Creek State Park in Titusville, PA

I'm a casual bike rider, and I don't feel comfortable riding my bike on the road, city or country. Cars rushing by me makes me nervous, so finding a good (safe) trail to ride my bike on is important to me. One of my favorite trails to ride is the biking/walking trail in Oil Creek State Park in Titusville. It's definitely a little trek to get there, 45-75 minutes depending on where you live in Erie, but it is a trek well worth it. The trail is a well paved trail that runs through the Oil Creek Gorge. You can either start the trail at Drake Well Museum or at the Petroleum Centre, but the trail going one way is 9.7 miles. It's an easy ride with lots of places to stop and rest if needed and much of the trail is shaded by the trees. You'll even cross a wooden bridge over Oil Creek which is a great place to stop for a selfie. I mean after all, if you didn't take a selfie during the ride, did you even go on the ride?? There are also some great hiking trails at the park. Check out the DCNR website with details about the trail and directions to the trail heads here.

3. Kayaking at Eaton Reservoir (aka Bull Dam) in North East, PA

I think kayaking is my favorite of all the outdoor summer activities. I took up kayaking about 8 years ago when my husband bought himself a kayak. Before that I had no idea I'd be interested in kayaking, but when I saw the fun he was having, I wanted in. One of the best places we have found to kayak is at Eaton Reservoir in North East, PA. The reason we like it so much is because the size of the reservoir is just right (approx. 3 miles to kayak around the perimeter), most of the time the water is calm and it's typically a quiet place to kayak. The scenery and wildlife are beautiful as well. We've seen turtles, fish, blue heron and other birds along our kayak. There are 2 different parking lots with boat launches you can use. There's also a trail around most of the reservoir that you could either ride your bike around or hike if you prefer. There isn't a great website with information about the reservoir, but check out the Facebook page for a map showing you the location.

4. Outdoor Workout at Frontier Park

I've been holding a grudge against Frontier Park ever since my great rollerblading accident of 2010. Really this is no fault of Frontier Park, but rather my own bad split-second decision making in the face of what seemed like a giant downhill decent that I failed to navigate safely when a friend and I decided to go rollerblading at the park on that fateful July day. I'm alright physically 8 years later, but up until a few weeks ago I was still mad at Frontier and the "giant" hill that was the catalyst for the accident. That's a story for another blog on safety or maybe on how to make better split-second decisions. Anyway, a few weeks ago I was meeting a client for a personal training session and we decided on an outdoor workout at Frontier Park. As I walked around before the session checking things out I realized what a great place it was for an outdoor workout. In addition to all the trails, both paved and unpaved, there are a lot of things you can use to do a workout. One of the greatest things were the benches strategically placed throughout the park. Park benches are great places to do exercises like step ups, push ups, planks, mountain climbers, tricep dips, box jumps, butt tap squats, and lots more. The best thing is you can use the bench to adjust for your fitness level and progress as you get stronger. There are also several grassy fields where you can do bear crawls, walking lunges, side-step squats, crab walks, high knees, jumping jacks and so many more exercises. In between exercises on the bench or grass you can either walk, jog or run the trails. You can get a great interval workout in by doing a bench exercise for 30 seconds followed by an exercise in the grass for 30 seconds followed by a recover walk/jog along the trail for 30 seconds. Do this on repeat for 30 minutes and you've completed a great interval workout outside among the beautiful flowers, trees and lush green grass. You may not even notice your working out! And you could even bring the kiddos along and let them play in the field while you do your workout. Or better yet, treat them to a trip to the playground at the park after you are done with your workout. For information on Frontier Park and all they have to offer, click here.

So that's it...my 4 places to get in an outdoor workout before summer is over! I hope you try at least one if not all four! Whatever you do, I hope you soak up and enjoy what little bit of summer we have left!

*The On the Move Adventure Group is a group run by my friend Erica and I that is open to all women in the Erie area that would like to get out and go on some adventures around town. We just started the group this summer and so far we have hiked Asbury Woods and kayaked Findley lake. If you are interested in joining this free group, head to the home page of my website and email me through my Contact Me form, email me at michellecallahancoaching@gmail.com or contact me on my FB page. We have a private On the Move Adventure Group FB page we can add you to so you can stay updated on all our adventures!


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