Pueblo Active Community Environments (P.A.C.E.)
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Non Traditional Ways to Make Being Active A Tradition

As someone who currently lives in a “1 car for the entire family” situation – (again – in the past it lasted 2 – ½ years) -  it is fair to say we often run into times that if we can’t ride a bicycle or walk to get there, we don’t go.   

Most of the time we prefer to bike anyway.  Our friends already know we have not always had “traditional celebrations” in my house of 3 plus dog.  Having a small family, and often living far away from our relatives, and/or having strange work schedules, has given us some surprisingly nice flexibility how we celebrate the Holidays.

Many years ago, we became bored of watching others focus so much on “food, restaurants and retail” – especially around the Holiday’s – so we came up with our own, new traditions.  We make sure we “Do Something Active as a Family” to celebrate.  This is regardless of the weather.  We have hiked in temperatures so cold, snowy and windy, that the bladder in our hydration packs froze solid.  We have gone on bike rides while tears ran down our faces from the cold and our glasses fogged up from our crystallized breaths panting into warm scarves wrapped tightly against our faces.  And, often times, we participated on local fun 5K walk/runs or community bicycle rides.

This is a hard time of year for many people to stay motivated at times – including me.  The days are shorter, the nights are colder (and darker!), and there are a lot of mixed emotions that people are experiencing.  This year, I’d like to encourage everyone to plan a little activity into their busy Holiday schedules.  You don’t have to run a marathon or make it complicated.  Just Take 5 minutes to do something for yourself!

We have all seen the typical suggestions such as “take the stairs”, “walk on your breaks”, or “join a gym”.  I decided it would be interesting instead to give some ideas for “Non Traditional Ways to Make Being Active a Tradition” this year:  

1)      LARPING – Live Action Role Playing:  For those of you who are nerds, here’s a great suggestion by nerdfitness.com, “LARPING may seem silly to those on the outside, but to those playing, it’s an amazing adventure that reminds us how awesome our imaginations are.  Also, depending on the game, you could be wearing a heavy costume, swinging heavy weaponry, and running for your life”!

2)      Don’t Hibernate On The Couch:  Instead of watching TV or Netflix from your couch, (where it is nice and cozy, and often leads to long periods of not moving while you binge watch old reruns, or even a nap), sit on an exercise ball or on the floor.  This will promote small movements, fidgeting, or even stretching keeping your body alert and flexible.  You may even decide to do specific exercises once you get into your show without even noticing.

ALTERNATE:  Not interested in always sitting on the floor?  Just make sure you are stretching somehow.  Get some elastic bands for resistance training, or use small hand weights or ankle weights while watching the news or listening to music.  Don’t have it?  Use cans of food instead.  When you are done, you will already know what to make for dinner! 

3)      Turn Shopping Into Exercise:  Whether you are an early riser, or a night owl, there are always places to walk where you can shop!  Most people have heard about the option of walking around the mall before the stores open, but you can really do this anywhere.  I find myself walking at a fast pace around grocery stores or “Box Stores Whose Names We Won’t Mention “ (but apparently, you can even go in your pajamas to some of them which are open for 24 hours  – hint, hint).   Grab a cart and do your shopping while you are at it!

4)      Farm Your Way Fit  According to TheBeautyBean.com, “If you’re looking for a more hands-on spin on outdoor fitness, get farming.  Many farms offer volunteer opportunities where you can spend a day (or more, depending on how keen you are) learning about farming, harvesting, picking and general farming chores. In return, you may even get some locally produced meals, learn valuable lessons on hard work and sometimes even get to leave with a box of fresh fruits or veggies to take home with you.

5)      Nerdfitness also recommend….”You Know…- That thing that couples do?  Yeah. Do more of that.  Self-explanatory.  Moving on…”

6)      Move Your Furniture Around:  Make sure everything is not within reach.  Set up your home or office so you have to get up and move around.  Put a side table where your drink (or snacks) go across the room versus right next to you.  Pull the printer to your computer out of reach so you have to get up to pick up your copies.  Move the trash can.  Walk over to the person you want to talk to instead of emailing or texting them if in the same building.

7)      Act Like A Kid:  Kids burn a lot of calories because they are constantly moving.  Stand up and sit back down frequently.  Shake out your arms.  Hop in place.  Wriggle in your chair.  Tap your fingers.  Skip to the bathroom.  Use grand gestures when talking or telling a story.  Set your chair too high and swing your legs back and forth while reading a book.   Roll your neck and your eyes occasionally.  Or, just climb on stuff. (Just make good decisions on when to do this by yourself versus in front of others so you don’t seem too obnoxious). 

And finally, a BONUS suggestion for travelers:

Don’t Lay Down During A Layover:  When traveling by airplane, especially during the Holiday’s, you just may have to wait between flights.  Don’t just sit there and watch the clock tick until you have to get on a plane to sit some more.  Get up and walk through the airport.  That means, if you get near an automated people mover, don’t use it – walk next to it.  Take the stairs vs. the escalator. And stretch it out some.  Walk out the kinks and stiffness in your achy joints.  After all, it’s your Holiday!

 

As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot to be active.  Just breaking some old habits, and capitalizing on creative things you probably already do from time to time by making it consistent.  Whether you are with friends, family, or alone, take time for yourself and be active!  You are worth it.  Get outside and enjoy life and Happy Holiday’s to all of you!  Walk and Roll!  Stephanie

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