Fit Minute: Fortifying your body at Fort Sewall with Martha Potvin

Inside Out Training Owner Martha Potvin demonstrates an incline pushup on a bench at Fort Sewall. Photo by Ryan Vermette

Working out can be difficult. It can be time consuming, overwhelming if you haven’t done it in a while, or sometimes it’s just simply hard to get motivated. However, Inside Out Training owner and fitness instructor Martha Potvin knows just the place to make your workout more enjoyable.

Potvin calls Fort Sewall her “favorite outdoor gem.”

“It’s a million dollar view, and you can get a lower body or upper body workout in on your walk or your run, and just breath in the ocean air and soak in the sun,” said Potvin.

She demonstrated two exercises that can be built into your routine walk or run. The first is a bench squat on the many sitting areas that line the walking spaces at the top of the fort looking out onto the ocean. 

“Using a bench is what I do with all of my clients whether its in a gym or here,” she said. “It’s a perfect tool to set yourself up for good form.”

Potvin said to sit on the bench and position yourself at the very edge of the seat. Your feet should be planted flat, with a 90-degree bend for your legs.

“From here you extend your arms straight out, pushing through your heels as you stand up all the way,” Potvin said.

After standing up, you should begin to move your hips back and sit back down on the bench. Potvin said if you want to modify the exercise to make it more challenging, you can barely tap the bench before coming back up. 

Potvin noted that squats imitate movements that we do everyday, and stressed the importance of being able to move in that direction.

“That replicates the way our body works. We want to be strong enough to be able to get up and down, out of a chair, out of bed,” Potvin said.

That exercise strengthens the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core, she said.

The second exercise is an incline pushup, also using the bench. She says to place your hands a little wider than shoulder width on the top of the bench and have a straight body from the shoulders all the way down to the heels.

“You want to tighten everything up and pull your belly button in and you bring your chest towards the bench, and you come to a straight arm,” she said.

Potvin added that you should exhale when pressing down and exhale when pressing back up, while on the balls of your feet throughout.

To make it harder, Potvin says you can go lower and place your hands on the sitting area of the bench. The incline pushup, Potvin noted, works the entire body, but specifically adds strength to the upper body.

She recommends doing ten to fifteen repetitions and one to three sets for each exercise. Overall, Potvin says exercising outside can provide a lot of benefits, especially if you are struggling to start working out. 

“You can do it here and you won’t mind it so much when you’re looking at the ocean,” she said. “A lot of people don’t like to exercise, but you can make it pleasurable.”