I think we’ve always known that it’s a good idea to get outside. And even though our moms sometimes mentioned that it was ‘too nice a day to spend inside watching television’ — it wasn’t often that we needed prompting to get outdoors. That’s where the fun was: building snow caves, playing hide ‘n seek, riding bikes, sledding…Can you imagine the steps we’d have racked up if we’d had fitbits? And, as far as I remember — it was never too cold for tobogganing or snowball fights. So, about a year ago when I adopted my dog Henry — I made a commitment to myself to spend less time on the couch (cancelling my cable subscription is another story) and to get outside more. And, wouldn’t you know it — ‘getting outside’ is a thing!
So, if you need more motivation to get yourself or your kids or your dogs outside every day, and that energized yet calm feeling isn’t enough — there’s the science behind what’s now being called green exercise. By itself, just being in nature, says nutritionist and lifestyle consultant James Murphy , has a number of benefits: “restoring your focus, helping you relax, improving cognitive function, and making you happy”. But double down with exercise and the benefits really stack up: improved self-esteem, less perceived effort, increased workout frequency, and just plain fun. Like the kind we had as kids.
So, rather than trying to cram in noon hour workouts at my workplace gym, my commitment (resolution if you will) is to get outside for some green exercise 4 or 5 times a week, whether it be making tracks in the park with Zander, finding a new tobogganing hill, or hiking with Henry in the coulées. (Poor Henry has a pound or two to lose after Christmas too.)
Maybe I’ll even get snowshoes and head out to Waterton for a winter hike! How will you get your green – or should I say – white exercise this winter?