The November Project: build a healthy community through free, but freezing, outdoor exercise
by: Laura Walker
Recently, I participated in an organization, The November Project, which brings community members together for a free workout class. The organization got its name as a way to motivate people to get out of bed and workout during the winter months.
There’s nothing like starting a Friday morning running the hilly perimeter of Patterson Park, simultaneously gasping for oxygen in the thin winter air and hoping the cold biting my legs doesn’t turn into frostbite. If you’re already rubbing your hands together after reading that sentence, then maybe the November Project isn’t something you should try.
When I showed up to Patterson Park on one of the coldest days of the year, with a very reluctant friend, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Slowly, about thirty people started showing up—all within their twenties and early thirties. As I reached out my hand to introduce myself, each of the members gave me a hug instead to welcome me into their community.
As my friend and I trekked up the long hill in Patterson Park, my brain kept saying, “Please stop and breathe before you drop dead!” and “It’s not too late to hop in a cab and go home!” However, it was surprisingly easy to ignore them because of all the encouragement each member was giving.
Each time someone would pass, whether they were struggling or without a trace of sweat, we would high five and congratulate each other on our dedication. It was really quite distracting, but in a good way!
After partaking in an hour-long workout with the organization, it was clear that the point wasn’t that it was free, but that it was with an enthusiastic group. Admittedly, the concept is fantastic because there was a team of people motivating me to push further and finish the exercises and hills.
I’m all about promoting a healthy life and I love to exercise, but for me, I like to workout indoors or in the warm summer morning air. While The November Project is great if the chill of winter air doesn’t make your lungs want to freeze over and collapse, it’s worth a try. Though, I think the next time I join the November Project for a morning workout, it will (ironically) be in the spring.