Heed the Heat: Summertime Workouts

Safety first

In such a beautiful place as the Snoqualmie Valley, there are enough outdoor activities to keep one busy all summer long. That's great for nature enthusiasts, but the sun can be a very real danger and it's important to keep a few things in mind. These may seem like common sense, but we've all seen some folks doing questionable things! 

- By enjoying the outdoors in the morning or evening, you will avoid the hours when the sun's at its most potent. Think of the day's heat as a parabola: from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., your body is most susceptible to damage. If you have a day-long hike planned or just have to be outside all day, be sure to use sun screen! According to Health Research Funding, just 30 minutes in elevated temperatures (around 100 degrees F) is enough to cause cell damage.

- DRINK WATER. Before you go running or hiking in the sun, drink a few glasses of water. Drink an uncomfortable amount of water. Sweating will quickly dehydrate you, and you'll need a water bottle on hand during your activity to replenish your fluids and avoid dizziness or nausea. That feeling you get at the end of a hot day, when you just want to lay down and sleep, can be at least partially mitigated by staying hydrated!

- Your summer activity dress code should include lightly-colored, breathable materials. Don't go out in sweats! By allowing your skin to breath, your sweat can do its job and keep you cool. Try to stick to a shady path. Shouldn't be too hard in the woods. 


Unique exercise opportunities

There are miles and miles of trails in our area. Running on these trails can provide for runners things that a treadmill just can't, and the spiritual experience of exploring the woods will help one relax and contemplate things.

- A dirt or gravel path is a more low-impact surface, and as such is easier on one's joints and bones. At the same time, the departure from a hard and flat surface like a treadmill or road works the ligaments and tendons differently and can help strengthen more than on high-impact surfaces.

- Regardless of any religious affiliation, there's a sense of wonder that comes with being in nature. The therapeutic benefits of nature walks have been documented in Japan and Korea, where researchers found in recent years that time spent in nature seems to increase subjects' immune capacity. The uptick in these disease-killing cells has brought programs like Park Rx to the forefront of natural medicine.

- The world is a jungle gym. Trees to climb, rocks to hurdle, everything you see can be used to get your body moving. The variety of exercises possible in the woods can provide a full-body workout! Flip a log over a few times. Balance across a creek. Stretch your whole body on some low-hanging tree branches. The possibilities are quite endless. 

In your own backyard

In the Valley, we have endless trails and parks. Train tracks and converted train track paths offer gradual climbs and smooth surfaces, whereas Mt Si and Little Si offer a more strenuous workout. Vistas like Rattlesnake Ledge and Mt Si serve as the perfect reward for the trek to the top. There are opportunities everywhere to get lost in the mountains, in a good way. 

The Snoqualmie Valley Trail is part of an old railroad network that used to connect Everett to the Mid-western states. At over 30 miles long, the trail is used by bicyclists and walkers alike (though most walkers will probably choose a section for their trip). The views offered on this trail vary from green farmland near Duvall to the stark mountains and lakes near North Bend and Snoqualmie. Family friendly and very gradual in elevation, this is the perfect trail for a spontaneous day out with the kids or dogs.

Those seeking a longer trip, rejoice! The Snoqualmie Valley Trail actually turns into the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which traverses the state from west to east. The trail network eventually reaches Chicago, and it's called the Milwaukee Road.

There are endless trails in the area, and a good place to find them all is the Washington Trail Association.