My natural activity barometer leans more in the ‘cozy-snuggle-lethargic’ rather then the ‘take the stairs, always moving. I’ll go grab that runaway ball!’. As such, it’s been a really conscious effort for me to not only rely on a 30 min workout, but realize that those have value and that having an active lifestyle is even more valuable. Charlie and the kiddos are movers and shakers. They’re always up for a walk, dance party, or hike.
I’m a creature of momentum. The more I move, the more I move. Implementing even one or two of these ideas always helps me to begin the snowball effect of a more movement filled life. There are a lot of benefits to having an active lifestyle, but the best I’ve found is how my mind is calmer on rest days. Instead of feeling guilt over a skipped workout, my body still feels connected to my heart, and I have moved enough to feel my muscles and feel strong. I can either try to actively avoid feeling my body, or I can embrace really being IN my body, and with that and more activit,y I’m finding more calm and less reliance on a workout program to feel ‘ok’.
Here are 8 ways we have added more activity to our lifestyle!
First, we turn off our phones on at least one weekend day. It’s amazing what having no social media will do for your productivity! Suddenly, the home is clean enough and we have to get going and playing outside, because what else will we do?!
Secondly, we make a point to research and find places we want to go and explore. We have been heading out on hikes every Sunday this year, and it’s given us more activity, and an even deeper love for our sweet PNW spot!
Third, we walk whenever we can, and most of the time if our destination is less than 2 miles from where we start. Hopefully, in the summer, that will stretch out a bit more. But for now, it basically means that if we want to go from our house to downtown, we walk. So that means the museum, library, coffee shop, and market are all walking trips for us. We have found that our girls adore night walks. Looking at the town through a different lens, seeing the stars come out, and finding each constellation that they can recognize is an experience that is infrequent but exciting every time.
Fourth, I’ve let go of my dedication to a workout plan being finished in the suggested time frame. Some days I can fit in a great sweaty workout, some days we trail run! And instead of feeling like I have failed the plan whenever I do something different on that day, I have embraced it as part of embracing a lifestyle instead of just a 4 week bandaid.
Fifth, we try things out! We hadn’t run in ages, but we both felt the bug. Instead of starting small, going out on our own, we decided to just GO for it! We hit up a favorite trail with our kids, lots of down hill fun, and just ran! Sure, we were pretty sore for the next few days, but just getting out there and doing what sounded fun, on the day it called to us, was so fulfilling and felt great!
Sixth, I have been trying to really find ways to be active even on our home days. It’s really easy for me to fall into my phone, writing, playing and schooling with the kiddos, and not moving around much. Instead I have taken my 20 Minute Solution and added in my yoga practice, 5 min dance parties, and lots of breaks for stretching and movement. Adding it in really consciously is what I need right now, but hopefully the more I do it, the more I will do it, and the more natural it becomes!
Seventh, this one is a bit embarrassing. Charlie is super active, always moving. And I’ve always asked him to grab my water/snacks/let the dog out, whatever little things when he’s home. I’m trying (it’s a process!) to stop relying on him to do the little stuff so much. Instead at night I’ll hop out of bed to lock up, grab a water, open up the kiddo’s door. It’s little stuff! But it helps.
Eighth, and finally, wear clothes you can move in. Wearing leggings, or pants with some stretch (the ones I am wearing in the first photos have front and back pockets, and are totally office appropriate, but I can still do a headstand in them!), tops you can move around in, and generally feel comfortable getting up and down and being active in. I am finding more and more that if I wear clothes that I love, but also double as active wear, I am more active. The ‘athlesiure’ trend is hot and I am milking it for all it’s worth! My favorite things to look for are leggings with pockets (all of the ones I have on in this post have pockets! Here are the links: first black pants; Athleta Highline Hybrid, Hiking leggings are Athleta Chat to Town Capri and the black leggings in my home yoga picture are Athleta High Rise Cut out Tight (the grey version are on sale today!). Tops that are long enough that I can layer a sweater or jacket with them. And pants that can go well with boots, as that makes them really easily become a ‘school’ or ‘work’ outfit instead of just gymwear.
I did quite a bit of reading about Blue Zones (places in the world where people live the longest) and, in them, people didn’t lead strenuous, super active, lifestyles. They all had consistently medium level active lives, lots of walking, and short bursts of exercise here and there, instead of following ‘workout programs’. Also, their diets were super balanced, moderate, and not restrictive. . .
This hit me hard, and I could feel it. My body, health, and fitness goals aren’t for the short term. They are for mobility, strength, and flexibility in my old age (if you think about it, you need to be capable of at least one body weight squat and some shoulder mobility to be bathroom independent). This year I have made conscious effort to have movement be more a part of our lives. This was easy with the kiddos, they are always wanting to go for a walk, run around the park , ride bikes, and play chase. So following their lead has been my best bet.
What ways are you adding activity to your lives? What are your kids favorite activities? As the sun starts to show it’s face again our family has started biking again… or, rather, I chase them in my running shoes while they bike. Hoping I have at least one more year before Ever is a faster biker than I am runner!