Two years ago I saw a flyer for a paddle expo to be held on a lake near my home. It sounded fun so I went and tried out an array of flat water (not whitewater) kayaks. I had such a good time that I bought one and haven’t regretted it one bit. I named her Selma. Get it? Selma Kayak.

In the last two years Selma and I have been on 12-15 expeditions on nearby lakes. Not as much as I’d like, but still enough to provide much needed breaks from my typical workouts. And it gives me something else to look forward to as I dream about my summer activities in the cold (or lately – warm) of winter.

About five years ago, I decided that I was going to learn to mountain bike. For 12 weeks, I hauled my mountain bike (which had previously been used primarily on a college campus) to the trails. The first 2-3 weeks were rough, but soon I was surprising myself at the ease I rolled over difficult terrain.

If you’re anything like me, then doing the same old workout routine over and over becomes boring. That’s why I like to mix it up and try new things, in hopes I’ll find an activity that’ll give me another outlet to keep my exercise fresh.

Sometimes even slight variations to your typical routine can make a big difference. Last November I ran in my first cross country running race and had a blast. I’ve run many road races, but never ran cross country. I just ran my second last weekend and hope to do more.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. You’re bound to find something that you’ll love too. Within every sport, there seems to be microcosms of variation. I’m intimately familiar with cycling. There’s all sorts of cycling. For example, just within road cycling you can race, time trial, ride up moutainsides, ride across the country (see, ride across a state, go on weekly group rides, raise money for charity (, you can do ultra marathons (100-200 miles) brevets (an unsupported 100-300 miles), rondo’s (300 – 500 miles), weekend tours, vacation tours, self-supported tours or simply ride around the same 20 mile circuit 2-3 times a week. And what’s more, there are numerous events throughout spring, fall and summer in my region to keep me busy – and I don’t even live in an area where cycling is remotely close to being mainstream.

Remember, whenever you try anything new, don’t be turned off by snobby insiders. Every sport or activity has their share of these people. Just be patient and persistent and you’ll be an insider others are coming to for advice before you know it. And, best of all, you’ll have another physical activity in your toolkit to keep burning calories more than a mind-numbing daily ritual.