Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Getting outside

For the past week, I have diligently worked out every evening. After the kids are in bed, I go downstairs, hop on an exercise machine and watch some television while I pedal or row away. I feel good afterwards, I get a little bit of time to myself, and I unwind. I've even started looking forward to this time, which is great. I don't remember another time where I looked forward to exercising to quite the same extent.

But, it isn't the same as going outside. Living in Canada means living with months of winter and sometimes it becomes tempting to hibernate. I admire the people that will still go out and run in minus 20 or 30 weather, but I'm not one of them. I do try to go outside with my kids, play in the snow and make snowmen, but I'll admit I don't even do that enough. More often we either stay home or pack into the car and head to a playdate or indoor play centre.

Having said that, I'm also lucky enough to live in a part of the world that gets Chinooks. Now, for those of you that don't live around here, it basically means our weather goes from being -25 one day to being +5 the next. They can last a couple days up to a week. It has something to do with the air coming over the mountains, but I'm not enough of a scientist to explain the phenomenon. Google is great if you're really interested. The gist of if though, is we currently have beautiful weather in the middle of winter.

So we went for a walk down to the river.

I often underestimate the power of the outdoors. Within minutes I was feeling revitalized and more energetic. My kids were loving it. My son (almost 3) ran ahead with his arms out pretending to be an airplane. My daughter (almost 1.5) toddled along giggling and screeching (good screeching). Whenever we caught up, my son would instruct me to "jump!" over a puddle or crack in the path. For 2 toddlers we walked quite a ways.

It reminded me of one of the side benefits to the journey I am on. My children need a role model that takes them on walks and plays outdoors with them. This walk wasn't "exercise" for them, but they certainly got their heart rates up. This is one of the things I hope my children always have. The joy of going outside, the rush you get from activity. I hope they don't have to view it as exercise. I never want one of them to start a blog about how they are going to lose 70 pounds. If they ever write a fitness blog, I'd much rather they start a blog about their kayak adventures or quest to run a marathon.

I will admit that, as much as I enjoyed it, I'll still be jumping on the exercise machine this evening. After all, the pace of two toddlers isn't enough to get my heart rate really up. I'm looking forward to tomorrow though. I'm planning on pulling the chariot out of the garage and going for a longer walk. I'm hoping the weather forecast is telling the truth and we'll have a few more days of this beautiful weather.