Try the urban jungle trek!
Staying active in the baking heat in summer, or where I am now in Phnom Penh, Cambodia can be a challenge. It’s easier than you think if you learn to use the city and its man-made obstacles as your playground.
That’s how I look at it whenever I go outside on the streets. When I’m walking somewhere, I inject purpose into it and make it fun. I’ll only use transport if where I’m going is more than 30 minutes away.
Otherwise, I’m walking, and I make the concrete jungle my training ground.
You can get some much more effective, fun, and unstructured exercise done this way, and it’s an excellent concentration and mind stimulant.
One of my favorite things to do when taking a break from my desk is to go and walk the neighborhood, zig-zagging up and down the streets while finding new interesting spots.
I want to get my exercise in and sweat on, but I don’t make it boring by walking in a familiar loop, nor do I go to the gym. That’s the easy way if you want to get a quick leg stretch done. However, going for a cruise around your part of town adds a fun factor and is a much better workout.
I call this the Urban Jungle Trek
Just imagine this: Instead of being in the countryside, a forest, or a mountain area, you simply use the streets, traffic, crossings, and pavements as your obstacle course.
Of course, this requires you to adjust your mindset and clearly observe the surrounding craziness, and make it a bonus. Don’t worry about the heat, noise, and pollution.
The trek will only take you 30 to 60 minutes, so it won’t kill you unless you’re unaware of the mad traffic, that is.
How it works
I hit the streets, walk fast, and start heading in any direction. You’re constantly meeting intersections, mostly without zebra crossings or traffic lights where I am, which makes it more fun.
But you’ve got to be quick on your feet and very alert. The motorbikes, tuk-tuks, trucks, and cars here don’t pay much attention to pedestrians. You basically don’t have the right of way, so you have to gently force your path.
I always walk facing the oncoming traffic, as if you don’t, you’re likely to get bumped in the backside by one of these said drivers who cut things too close. Yep, that happened to me once, and I learned my lesson.
Then, I’ll dart from one side of the street to another, quickly crossing the road, while slaloming through the traffic, holding it up as I do so.
That requires you to make yourself big and visible, which means you’ve got to be assertive and a bit aggressive about your next move.
It’s better to be seen than run over!
Walking fast, sometimes even in a quick run, I’ll burst over jumping onto a pavement, while closely navigating people, signs, dogs, and piles of trash.
That’s just the way the concrete jungles are in Southeast Asia. Once you get used to it, you see it as second nature and part of the city’s vibrant character.
Some of the observers definitely look at me funny, while probably thinking I’m crazy to be darting in and out of traffic like this.
And that’s all you have to do. Make your trekking track as you walk along, moving fast and light on your feet while being highly alert to the potential dangers around you.
In this case, it’s not snakes or spiders that you might find in the jungle, instead, it’s the crazy drivers whizzing around at full speed.
The Urban Jungle Trek is a great fat-burn and muscle-building workout, which delivers an excellent adrenalin rush, and a feeling of positive accomplishment.
Don’t let the busy tropical city you may be in rattle you, challenge yourself and make it your tailormade workout playground.
You’ll save time, get to learn more about the city and its people, and pump out a wonderful, creative exercise session for both body and mind.
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