I am not a runner and that may be why I have never discovered the infamous training steps above Clifton 2nd known as the Biskop steps or trappies (in Afrikaans). They are a set of about 292 steps from bottom on Victoria Road to the top on Kloof Road. There are constantly people running or walking up and down the steps so it must be a thing.
We decided to try it out on a weekday with both my friends who had definitely done the steps many times before. I started to run up it at a slow jog but about half way up I decided it was better for me and my leg muscles just to walk. I promise you my heart rate was still getting right up there. We went up and down it twice. There was a man there who was going up and down ten times in his training for climbing mountains. Actual mountains because he had already done the likes of Kilimanjaro and the base camp of Everest. There was a young woman who said she hadn’t been to the steps in almost a year and used to go up and down it five times but this time could only make two times. She said that she will be back tomorrow to do it again.
I liked it because it is relatively close to where I stay which means it’s definitely workable and excellent cardio going up so many steps. There were lots of people running or walking up and down so it took on a festive and motivational vibe. You are also rewarded with beautiful views of the ocean on the way down while you catch your breath for the next ascent.
I just may add Biskop Trappies to my fitness routine. It’s always fun to try new things and have a variety of different workout options. I went through several years where I didn’t do much exercise but in the last few years I’ve completely changed my attitude towards exercise. For the most part I really enjoy it, I’ve made new friends through my exercise and if I don’t do it for a while my body actually craves it.
10 Tips to get moving:
- Bring a Friend. My best tip to be motivated to exercise is to meet up friends and turn the exercise into a social occasion. It holds me accountable to my friends and it always make the exercise more fun instead of just grafting through it.
- Tune in. If I am doing exercise on my own like hiking or running (in safe spaces) then I try to bring some music with to help me stay engaged and motivated.
- Make it work. It should be exercise that is close to your place of work or home and that can fit into your work schedule. Don’t make any more hurdles than you already have to exercise.
- Find your thing. Do exercise that you enjoy. Whether it’s swimming, hiking, running, weight-training, Zumba or yoga. At the moment, the fitness trend is to push certain exercise like weight training over cardio but not everyone enjoys weights. Whatever it is that you find that you enjoy doing and can keep doing will always be better than sitting on the couch.
- Don’t overdo it. You can’t go from zero to hero in one day and it isn’t really advisable. You don’t want to do too much so that you are injured, stiff or too exhausted to keep on going. Fitness takes time to build up and you want to start off slowly and build up. You also want to make sure you take rest days to keep on going a few times a week. Every week.
- Consistency is everything. If you keep doing any exercise on a regular and consistent basis you will get better at it. Don’t train super hard and then not train at all. It doesn’t work like that. The trickiest bit is exercising when you are not feeling it but pushing through your planned work out and doing it as well as you can. That’s when you really grow in that exercise.
- Mix it up. I always try to add new sport into my exercise routine and try out new things. I end up doing a combination of swimming, hiking and yoga. Sometimes I will try new types of yoga or go for a run instead of a hike or try out a new group class.
- Track yourself. I have found that having a GPS sports watch that can record my time and distance for all of my sports to be very motivating. I can compete against myself to see whether I am going faster or slower. Or if you are doing something in the gym you can track number of pushups or the amount of weight you can lift and see if you improve over time.
- Plan it. I usually try to plan my exercise each week on a Sunday evening. Seeing how my schedule is, looking at the weather, and working out when I can fit it in. Usually I have set days where I do certain sport but I also have to be flexible with weather conditions because a lot of my exercise is outdoors.
- Set goals. I also am more motivated to exercise if I am training for something because there is a reason to keep fit for a specific goal I am working towards. I like to set one long swim for myself each year and I train towards that. And with my hiking i like to plan one long hike each year as the peak of my hiking season.