Take a Bound Through Nature’s Gym

May 1, 2020

We all want to be in great shape no matter what the season. Without access to the gym these days (never was a fan), I rely on one of my favorite workouts using nature as my training ground.

One of my favorite workouts is nature bounding—a brisk bushwhack through the woods or greenspace, using the landscape to create a natural obstacle course. My routes include both hills and flats, with boulders, rock formations, fallen trees and stumps.

Bounding involves springing from foot to foot, object to object with smooth, flowing motions. It’s an extension of walking, best achieved by establishing an even pace somewhere between a walk and a run. Your bounds will vary with the terrain, from short hops to medium-sized leaps.

With muscles tight and legs slightly bent, land on the ball of your foot. This reduces impact on knees and other joints. Trail running shoes also lessen the blow and provide grip.

Stay focused on every step and movement. Maintain an open stance, eyes focused ahead, arms extended, forward and ready for anything.

Use a variety of texture and terrain to help develop mental and physical skills. To improve foot-eye coordination, bound from rock to rock or tight-rope walk along a fallen tree. Try long, rhythmic strides up a grassy knoll or hillside to improve endurance.

Play it safe by testing your route before you leap. Be sure rocks are solid and stable, and tree trunks can handle your weight.

Finally, stave off injury with a pre-bounding warm-up. Start your workout with a 10-minute walk or light jog, followed by a 10-minute stretching session.

(Adapted from an article I wrote for Snow Country Magazine)

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