Heather Cox recently traveled to Iceland with her 10-year-old son. They left the rest of the family at home in Minneapolis and enjoyed a week exploring the hinterlands of the island. Heather’s son wanted to hike and enjoy the outdoors, so they spent almost all of their times in small town hotels or remote cabins, where hiking paths and other adventures were reachable within a few minutes’ walk.
“One of my favorite hikes was to a thermal river,” Heather says. “It was about three miles each way. We took swimsuits, snacks, and towels. But you could only stay in the water for a few minutes before your skin turned bright pink—it was that hot!”
Exploring the outdoors has always been one of Heather’s interests—and she’s happy that her son and daughter (age 5) enjoy the natural world as much as she does. When she’s not exercising outdoors, Heather gets a workout in at AQ. Here’s why she likes physical activity and pursing a healthy lifestyle.
What’s your fitness background?
I grew up in the Des Moines area doing dance, gymnastics, track and swimming. I really liked running because of the group of people I ran with and because you could just go outside and do it. It didn’t require any special gear.
In college, I did some rock-climbing and hiking, but I didn’t do any organized or structured activities. And then after college, I didn’t really do anything active at all.
What brought you back to being active?
Roughly a decade ago, I was living in New York City about the time my son turned 2. I started running again. We would go to Central Park for a run and then stop at a market to get him a snack. I really liked getting in shape again and being active.
Talk about what you do to stay healthy.
I do a lot of hiking and biking with my kids in summer. In the last few years, I’ve gotten into mountain biking and skiing—both cross-country and downhill. I have my own skis, and there’s a cross-country group that I joined that meets at Theodore Wirth. The people in the group are all good athletes but skiing isn’t their primary activity, so it’s a fun group to ski with.
Why did you join AQ?
I had some friends who went to CrossFit Linden Hills and they persuaded me to try it. I didn’t love it. I was really sore for a long time afterwards. But when AQ opened, they suggested I should go. I really like it. I’ve tried doing group work outs in other places, but never really liked the experience. This is the first time that I’ve enjoyed a group experience. I really like the people and instructors. People are encouraging. It doesn’t feel competitive.
How would you describe the AQ workouts?
When left to my own devices, I tend to only focus on cardio. I like that AQ is a great mix of endurance and strength. In addition to doing intervals that improve my speed and cardiovascular endurance, I really like working on my muscle tone. I bring my kids with me sometimes, and I feel like it’s good role-modeling for my kids. I recently heard my son tell one of his friends, “My mom is really strong. You should see her arm muscles!”