Active Ambitions

In modern day life, it's easy to forget to stay active. We can get everything we need to sustain our bodies on a basic level with very little effort in comparison with many generations past. As human beings, we have a natural instinct to preserve our energy as much as we can (this goes for food and other resources as well). These instincts were essential to our survival for a very long time. These instincts are not so necessary now here in North America. So we find ourselves coming home from desk jobs and sitting in front of the TV in the evenings.

But it's important to remember our bodies were made to move. We benefit greatly from a health amount of daily exercise. Our muscles remain toned, it helps us to burn off calories, and also gives us a lovely dose of endorphins!

Growing up in San Francisco, California, walking was an essential part of my daily life. It was second nature. I would walk up to 75 blocks a day. I'd opt for walking to and from work instead of taking the bus or cable car, and I would get off the metro once it got through the shady neighborhood, and walk 50 blocks to volunteer at the zoo. For years, I'd also go to the gym daily for 1-hour visits, maintaining a workout routine that was half stair master and half circuit workout equipment. I was consuming 3,000+ calories a day, and I wasn't gaining a single pound.

Here in Edmonton, Alberta, it can be extremely hard to stay active in the winter. Snow will pile up outside, making it an ordeal to walk or drive to the grocery store, what to speak of doing anything else. It's not something I'm used to. Everyone is in the same boat, and it's quite plain when you trudge out and about that everyone is miserable. When the blanket of winter is pulled back, and makes way for spring, the spirits of everyone are immediately uplifted. The activities and festivities start up again, and it seems like the city of Edmonton, which held its breath all winter, finally exhales a sigh of relief.

Now that Baby E is here, more than ever, I am motivated to stay active---get moving---like I once did. I would like to get him used to activity from the start, in the hopes that it will spark a life-long habit. So on Friday, we took a plunge. We bought bicycles. Sunday, we purchased a second-hand Chariot Cheetah 1 (we would have loved a brand new Chariot Chinook 2, but our modest income certainly couldn't afford us one). Today we go on our first bike ride as a family. We intend to use regular bike rides to supplement our lifestyle, for the days when we don't feel like just going for a walk through the dog park, and don't feel up for a day hike.

I certainly wish that my little boy would remain little forever. But if there's something that makes me look forward to the days to come where he will grow ever taller and taller, it's the things we'll be able to do together. Rollerblading, cycling, playing with a soccer ball or a Frisbee, ice skating, long hikes and camping trips, and so much more.

What are your family's plans for the summer? Are you hoping to stay physically active with a lot of outdoor activities? How do you stay active throughout the year?

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  1. I love this post. I don't yet have children, but I know that once I do I'll have the same concerns and feelings you do about needing to stay active for (and with) my family.

    Totally understand what you mean about it being hard getting out to do things during the Winter in Edmonton.. It's kind of the same here in Vancouver, except instead of snow, we get plummeted with nonstop rain.. so it really makes going out not so much fun anymore.

  2. Walking is the absolute exercise, I lost over a hundred pounds by walking. I walked everyday, rain, shine, sleet, snow, whatever the weather. I wore out several pairs of tennis shoes I walked so much. Don't stop, keep going, it is good for your mind, heart, legs, and your body.

  3. I enjoyed your post!
    I live where we don't have the snow problem... Florida! :) It's sunny & warm most of the year! So we spend a lot of active time in the pool & at the beach! Before children, I was a triathlete. But I have since quit running like I used to, because I want to save my knees! I am walking now, some outside, some inside on my treadmill. Walking uphill/hiking definitely can be a workout!

  4. Here in southern California we don't have to worry about snow. However, living in the high desert, we have hot summers, cold winters, and always wind. My husband and i have found that we enjoy our walks for exercise a lot in the mall! We walk the inner perimeter of the mall, plus the inner perimeter of each of the 5 major department stores. My daughter recently moved back here from San Fransisco and she definitely misses all the exercise she naturally got living in that city.