In April, Amherst hosted a Tough Mudder event, a 10- to 12-mile, military-style obstacle course with 20 to 30 challenges designed to test participants’ physical and mental endurance. Close to 13,000 people participated. “It’s not a race, and it’s a challenge. The whole idea behind it is working through obstacles, overcoming fears and working with your friends and teammates to do it,” says Jane Di Leo, Tough Mudder’s public relations manager. Participants have raised more than $3.5 million for the Wounded Warrior Project since 2010.
Here are some tips to get you ready for the event so you can be part of the 78 percent who actually cross the finish line:
•This event will test your overall fitness, so concentrate on building strength in your upper and lower body and core, as well as flexibility and cardio strength.
•Add interval training to your workouts. Small bursts of high-intensity exercise will help you navigate the course.
•Work out with your teammates and develop a strategy for how you will maneuver the event. “Will you go as slow as your slowest teammate? How will you navigate certain obstacles as a team?” Di Leo asks. “We like to say ‘no mudder left behind.’ ”
•Be prepared and wear proper gear such as moisture-wicking clothing or compression wear, gloves with grip and old shoes.
EMH Center for Health and Fitness
Exercise never gets boring at this health and wellness center, which offers 125 classes a week. “The classes are such a strength of our facility,” says Brad Calabrese, general manager. “Over the past year we have developed some specialty group classes and training programs, such as our TRX suspension-based training.”1997 Healthway Drive, Avon, 440-988-6801, emh-healthcare.org
French Creek Reservation
Run, walk and hike on the 4.5 miles of scenic trails in this heavily forested reservation, which offers views of the French Creek, nature and wildlife. The four trails are a mix of paved and unpaved, straight and winding and flat and elevated, allowing exercisers to tailor the intensity of their workout.4530 Colorado Ave., Sheffield, 440-949-5200, metroparks.cc
Place to Walk a Dog:
Vermilion River Reservation
With more than 1,000 acres that encompasses the Vermilion River, this reservation is home to Mill Hollow — a pet-friendly park with five trails totaling 3.5 miles. “The nice thing from a four-legged perspective is there’s a lot of open space and a lot of people like to go there for training with their dogs,” says Jennifer Bracken, assistant director for Lorain County Metro Parks.Mill Hollow, 51211 N. Ridge Road, 440-967-7310, metroparks.cc
Health Food Selection:
This grocer has earned its stellar reputation for health and wellness by showcasing a fantastic array of local produce and a wide selection of supplements and herbs. “We have really expanded our raw-food and raw-supplement selection,” says Cassie O. Paullin, Heinen’s wellness coordinator. “Our meat also has no antibiotics or hormones, and we have a full-time wellness consultant at each store to help our customers make healthy choices.”35980 Detroit Road, Avon, 440-937-7660, heinens.com
Aladdin’s Eatery, Oberlin
With a menu centered on vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free delights, it’s no surprise that fresh produce and veggies are the focal points of this eatery. Try the vegetarian combo –– hummus, tabouli, baba, grape leaves and falafel. Or opt for the salad and choose from six homemade dressings.5 W. College St., Oberlin, 440-774-6282, aladdinseatery.com
Abbewood Senior Living Community
Dedicated to providing independent and assisted living to seniors throughout the area, this community is a bustling home to 175 residents. The grounds offer scenic courtyards, walking paths and a putting green. Inside there are themed rooms geared to arts and crafts, billiards and fitness as well as a library, beauty salon and Friday afternoon Happy Hours, where it has entertainment, appetizers and adult beverages.1210 South Abbe Road, Elyria, 440-366-8980, abbewoodretirement.com