You don’t need to go to a gym to get fit—not in Hamilton. The stairs, the trails, Bayfront Park–there are numerous outdoor exercise options in Hamilton that keep you motivated, get you some fresh air, and most of all, they’re pretty easy on the eyes.
After I first moved downtown, I found myself walking up the mountain to school a lot. I lived right next to the stairs, it was a good little exercise, and it was better than cramming myself into the 8:00 College bus.
I can’t count how many people I saw and met who exercised on the James Street staircase on a regular basis.
I’ve never counted the number of stairs, or calculated the height… but it’s a lot, and it’s certainly a challenge for the unfit (which I kind of am).
Five staircases connect the lower city to mountain, and those stairs also lead runners onto the Chedoke Radial Trail, The Bruce Trail, and the Escarpment Rail trail.
Carlyn McGill is a Mohawk College student, and she runs up and down the stairs and along the Bruce Trail several times a week, and says she does it because gyms don’t smell very good—well, also because she feels healthier when she’s exercising outdoors.
“It gives me a release. I don’t have as many anxieties. I feel better when I’m running. It gives you a break from everyday,” said McGill.
She says going to the gym too often really doesn’t make a lot of sense to her. You have to work out around other people (no matter what sounds they’re making), wait for machines, and it costs money—this is free!
McGill also says the workout you get in the great outdoors is unparalleled. The natural environment throws you surprises, and the conditions can sometimes not be easy to overcome, all of which add on to your workout.
“Rather than running for 20 minutes on a treadmill going the same speed… [the stairs and trails] are not so cut and dry.”
She also says the outdoors keeps you going a little bit longer, because when you do decide to stop you still need to turn around and go back. At the gym you can just press stop and go to the change room.
The stairs—just one of the awesome ways to stay healthy in outdoor Hamilton.