Monday, June 15, 2015

“We ought to get out more...”

A few weeks ago, I was asked to write an article for the Times Colonist's Healthy Living Magazine...exciting...and the only parameter was that the magazine was centred on outdoor living.  With all the sunshine we'd been having, and the fact that I'm stuck in a gym for workouts around 8 times a week, I thought I'd explore the subject of being active in nature.  You don't have to be a ninja-in-training to do it, you don't need specialised shoes or clothing, and you don't even need any money, all you need is a sense of adventure and a fabulous cityscape to get the job done.  Here are my thoughts on getting out more.

Exercise in the morning before your brain figures out what your body is doing - that has pretty much been my mantra for the last couple of years. As much as I love Crystal Pool & Fitness Centring, there's something to be said for playing outdoors. It keeps things interesting, it's great for mind and body, it's free, it's fun, and it's nearly impossible to find an excuse as to why you can't fit a little bit of nature into your day. So, when's the last time you tried swinging on the monkey bars in Central Park or wandered through the rose garden at Beacon Hill? When did you last take the scenic route in something other than a car?

Walking or running around town gives you an entirely new perspective on where you live. Go on, really listen to the music being pumped through the Gates of Harmonious Interest, search out the sculpted bronze Hands of Time - first a filigree fan, then the last spike, binoculars - can you find all 12? Take advantage of pedestrian-only pathways, sneak by Fisherman's Wharf on your way to taste the sea salty air as it whips around you on the breakwater, wave at cruise ship tourists then visit Emily Carr and other residents of Ross Bay Cemetery. Who says exercise has to be a chore - hours of gym time logged under fluorescent lights? I say, get out, and increase feelings of well-being, activate your brain, stimulate your senses, raise your serotonin levels, fill you lungs with oxygen, and get some vitamin D.

Hop on a bike and take a spin around the Inner Harbour, Dallas Road, really see where you live, follow the coastline, climb up that hill by the old observatory, catch your breath and then lose it again at the viewpoint as you look out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca towards the Olympic Mountains. Pedal your way through Victoria Golf Course, keep going until Oak Bay Marina, buy some bait, feed a seal, don't stop until you've immersed your feet in the frigid waters off of white, sandy Willows Beach, then take a different route back, explore. Healthy living is loving what you do in life, don't you dare get bored.

All this spring weather and unbelievable sunrises have got me thinking that I should venture outside with my yoga mat to salute the sun as it illuminates this amazing city. It may be that I need to lay off Googling fitspiration pictures of fancy asanas in fabulous places or it may be that I need a bit more fitness freedom. Time to think outside the gym, get active, and smell the roses simultaneously. There are no rules, you don't have to get up super early or even come home when the street lights turn on, just take your time, enjoy, and play in gratitude. There's no place like OM.

The article came out this past Saturday in the Times Colonist's Healthy Living Magazine's supplement. 

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