Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Fitness in winter

REWIND: I'm firing out posts that have been loitering in my draft box for far too long... some will post here as per usual, but I will cluster a few older ones together with links in a post soon, as they will be back dated and won't show up in google reader or on the main page of the blog...just so you know. :)

Outdoor ice arenas are something new to us in recent years over here in the east. We didn't have any local to us in our former home area, rather one big natural forming one on our back property when things froze over. (Think - very bumpy, lots of shoveling and not so fun all of the time.)

When reflecting back on last winter, we seemed to have had much colder weather which provided for harsher outdoor event possibilities. So much wind blew with those rushing horizontal falling snow squalls and I don't recall being able to get outdoors quite as much as this year for leisurely winter activities.

As I mentioned before, we here in our home are making a commitment to a healthier lifestyle which includes the topic of "fitness".

Chatting it up with the children in the earlier days of this brand new year, it became unanimous to begin improvement for our movement habits in order to accomplish this lifestyle goal over time, turning it into a more personal optimal general fitness and wellness improvement.

We all know children move around all the time, that's not what I'm speaking of. I'm actually thinking more of the endurance level improvements, upping the intensity of what types of activity we do, they do, we all do in fact.

All our sons have to do is lace up their skates and head out for a game of hockey to know if they've kept up their fitness habits beforehand even just for a great endurance sake. If they've sat around too often and not moved about, they know it in about 60 seconds of game play.

Just as breaking out in a fast sprint doesn't make one a seasoned runner, or being able to score
a basket and gain a two point lead doesn't necessarily make one a basketball player, these are things that keep us moving for pleasure. We aren't all called to be serious athletes, though we can create a general wellness so our bodies can withstand years of use. :)

Through every day movement on purpose, we hope to keep our fitness levels and circulation where it should be, just by aiming to be more active daily as opposed to the natural tendency to become less active, like a human winter hibernation being of sorts while having to remain indoors. And in addition, for our own health wellness sake, we turn to outdoors because the worst thing to do in winter is refrain from getting fresh outdoor air, so the more - the better.

When one lives in snowy areas like we do, very seldom do we worry about having to take a refreshing walk with an umbrella in hand in winter, there is no rain here during winter, at least there hasn't been more than once that I can recall this year. One thing is for sure - we have certainly come to realize we live in a year round playground for a variety of possible activities.

In winter,
  • We can skate at a local arena, free.
  • We can snow tube at a local mountain, ski or snowboard.
  • We can snowshoe free at a local museum for the cost of an annual family membership.
  • We can walk, slide, sled, shovel snow, build things with snow.
  • Our girls ride horses in snow,
  • Our boys play hockey in homemade ice arenas on our property,
  • and so much more.

If one never steps foot beyond the threshold of their own doorway in winter, cabin fever sets in, and hard. So does burn out. So we step out. Often. Even if just out to areas within reach on our own property, those we can get to without wearing super high gators over our boots.

We search for all the animal tracks decorating the snow surfaces when we rise each morning.
Our dogs like to be run around, and have balls thrown for them. Our husky likes to chase after snowballs and ice chunks. (Strange dog, she also loved nibbling on ice cubes in summer.)

Our children like to accompany them outdoors, sledding with them near, down the bank towards the trail out yonder.
We walk the animals, we walk just to walk.

Of noted interest is something called "mall walking", a very favorite winter time activity here in our part of the world, one which entails driving to the larger local shopping mall for the sole purpose of walking between 7-9am before businesses open, where dozens of folks power walk their feet off, and sweat like mad in the 70degree interior of the building. One store places coat racks out for walkers, those power walking people who are very serious about their activity for the morning.

One of our "Newcomer group social groups" heads to the mall on Thursday mornings. Another group called "Slower mall walkers" heads there Tuesday mornings. Who would have thought it? It's very serious stuff here folks, very serious.

Meanwhile back in our home ..

We wake. Dogs are tended to and then we get the circulation rolling;

Big staircase - Up and down for 4 sets.
Rounded stairwell perfect hallway lap circuit - 6-12 laps alternating the stairs.

And then schooling begins...

If the weather is fair; Later after lunch, we'll get out to walk outside, check on the bird feeders and the perimeter of the house for rodent trails and as much property as we can access. The dogs accompany us while we're out there.

When its snowy or a blizzard is in progress, the children additionally do the following, bare minimum;
  • Walk on the treadmill 10 minutes
  • Ride the bicycle 10 minutes
And then, three times each week the children choose and exercise DVD to work out with after stretching using these bands;

  • - Two large exercise balls with DVD stretching
  • - Core stretching DVD
  • - DVD using 'Kettlenetics' with this 4 pound red cherry one below.

We hydrate during our workout times.

We chat.

We boogie and yep, we sweat!

We want a lifestyle change and this is how we are working on it.

Outdoors or indoors. Every family has to choose what works for them and attempt at making it a daily habit. I guarantee you'll all feel better and your immune system will love you for it.

Move around, work hard, wiggle, boogie, dance to music, workout using weights or soup cans, sit your baby on your tummy and do sit ups, whatever you prefer. On a personal note, I am definitely a cardio person, and have to break out a sweat for at least 20 minutes a day or I feel terribly sluggish.

Why not - just do it. :)

they are...