If you are like me, this time of year has you reflecting on the year gone by and thinking of changes you can make for the next.
I’m not a huge fan — or a great keeper! — of resolutions, though, particularly the classic one where I claim I’ll “exercise more”.
The benefits of being active are well-known and clear: better circulation, great for heart health, improved mood, and so on.
But the thought of joining a gym or signing up for a sports team might be a bit too daunting.
With the help of physiotherapist Joanne Dorian, here are four resolutions that can help you be more active, without hardly realizing it.
1. I will dust my house once a week.
Light housework can burn more than 150 calories per hour and tougher chores even more. It can also stretch and strengthen your arms (reach up and dust those top shelves). The steps you take while tidying up and cleaning can definitely add up and contribute to the recommended 10,000 steps per day.
2. I will play – actually play – with the kids.
Have you noticed that your kids are all sweaty after a good half hour at the park or on the toboggan hill? That’s because they are exercising. This year, instead of watching the young ones play, join in, even just for a few minutes. Make a snowman together. Try out the sledding spot (wear a helmet, please!). Join in on the next round of hide and seek*. Your body and your mind – and your kids – will be grateful for it.
*Never underestimate the amount of energy a good old-fashioned game of hide and seek takes. I recently played with my niece and nephew, and the next day it felt like I had done 100 squats at the gym.
3. I will reduce my screen time.
The whole family can join in on this one (see #2 above). Vow to reduce your screen time this year and replace it with something else. A walk. A bike ride. More time in the garden. More time dancing to your favourite tunes. If you are catching up on your latest show, pause periodically for a stretch break, and be sure to stretch before bed (getting into a routine of stretching and taking a few deep breaths before bed can help with relaxation, prepare you for a good sleep and keep your muscles and joints limber.)
4. I will shop local.
We are all so inclined to hop in our cars to head on errands or to the grocery store. If you are able, vow to ditch the car and walk to your local shops. This not only helps support small business, it also helps get those 10,000 steps mentioned above.
So, here’s to a safe, healthy and Happy New Year! Hope to see you walking, biking or playing tag in the neighbourhood!
A version of this post appears in the January edition of the Leaside Streeter.