How has your fitness routine been holding up after a few weeks of social distancing and self-quarantine? I still jog outside when the weather permits, but I am missing my occasional trips to the gym and weekend yoga classes. While I have been making do with home workouts (more here), I have been craving a change in my routine. This desire led to me to consider working out in my building’s parking garage on a rainy day. My experience working out at a parking garage probably will not be applicable to many of you, however, I want to retell my story in hopes that it may inspire you to get even more creative with your workouts during this time.
This morning I awoke to gray skies and a steady drizzle of moisture. Following my routine, today was supposed to be a jogging day. However, in response to the rain, I decided to get creative and wanted to see what it would be like running up the ramps of my building’s parking garage. So, early that morning, I got suited up in my outdoor jogging attire and walked over to the parking garage. The facility was devoid of life and I estimate that there were no more than 20 – 30 cars in the whole multi-level structure. I plugged in my earbuds, set down my water bottle, and started to run up the winding ramp of the parking garage. Because there were so few cars, I was able to take a wide breadth in my jog by going over the empty parking spaces. At the highest level of the lot, the garage was exposed to the open air and I felt the cool moisture of the morning’s precipitation on my face. There was an elevator and staircase at the end of the ramp, and I was luckily able to quickly descend to the first floor and restart my jogging loop.
Jogging up the ramp was amusing at first, but like many repetitive activities, it became kind of boring. While I was running, I challenged myself to think about other exercises that I could complete in the space. As I imagined, the parking garage was ripe with opportunity!
On the top level of the parking garage, I found a ladder lying flat on the ground. I immediately thought back to football movies, where the protagonist is seen agilely weaving his feet through a rope ladder strewn across a green field. With this being a real, metal ladder, the spaces between the rungs were not very wide, however, I tried to perform the foot weaving maneuver regardless. I was tempted to look up on YouTube “how to run through a ladder,” but I impatiently decided to wing it. At first, I started moving laterally across the ladder no faster than a walk to avoid falling; the motion was really awkward. However, as I gained my footing, it felt like I was performing a dance. In fact, I got so into skipping through the ladder that I played a song on my iPhone and danced, jumped, and leaped across the metal piece for about 3.5 minutes.
At the entrance of the parking garage, I saw a stockpile of rock salt in bags piled on top of each other. Immediately, I recognized this as an opportunity to perform weighted squats and lunges. I set down my phone and went to pick up one of the bags—my goodness it was heavy! I later noticed that each sack was listed at 50 lbs. While the bag was cumbersome to lift from the stack, once I had a good grip on it, it was very manageable to use for exercise.
Of course, the parking garage is well equipped with a mountain of stairs. Fortunately, this building had an elevator, which made it easy to climb up and ride down.
And, last but not least—an upper body workout! I found a railing by the stairs comprised of two horizontal bars. I crawled under the lowest bar and sat there. I stretched out my hands away from me to grip the bar. Then I extended my feet out as if I were in a reverse pushup position. I then pulled myself up to the bar (heels planted on the floor) and lowered myself away from the bar. This sort of assisted pull-up motion can work a host of muscles in your chest, arms, and shoulders depending on what sort of grip you assume.
The parking garage workout was a real challenge! I came there for cardio but stayed for a total body workout. There are so many opportunities available to us when we choose to find creative solutions to our problems. If you live by a parking garage, why not consider trying out a workout of your own (when there is little to no traffic, of course!). If you do not live by a parking garage, I challenge you to see more workout opportunities in and around your home.
Wishing you some fun in your routine!