If you have been reading any of my articles, you have probably threorized that I’m pretty laid back when it comes to any kind of healthy activity. I think reading a good book constitutes a healthy activity as long as I’m not reading “Peyton Place” or some romance book with the word “lust” in the title and a cover picture of a bosomy woman being saved by a pirate. Healthy is variable; healthy does not necessarily have to mean painful. In fact, healthy is the opposite of painful. Whoever said pain equals gain equals healthy, anyway—and just what does “no pain, no gain” mean?
When I was a younger version of myself I loved to walk. I didn’t start driving until I was 17, which, in this part of the country, is pretty old to start driving. The only reason I took my drivers test was because my younger brother was getting his drivers license and I was not going to let him get his before I got mine, gosh darnit! Before I started driving I didn’t think twice about walking 4 miles from my parents front door to a friends house, visit for awhile then walk the 4 miles back. But, for some reason the older I have gotten, the harder it is for me to dredge up the will to go for a walk. It’s way funner to hop in my teeny Smart Car and go zipping around town. I have taken the car over to the football field and walked around the track. Four times around equals one mile…I know that from my high school gym class. I hated high school gym class. I hated running, so much so that when we had to run our mile to see how healthy we weren’t, I refused to run and I walked the darn thing. My teacher didn’t like my attitude, but she didn’t flunk me either. She just marked down that I did the mile in 15 minutes and some odd seconds. (I took my time).
So, healthy activity number one is…….walking! Walking is the easiest way to get from point a to point b and not pull a muscle. Just find yourself a comfortable pair of shoes that don’t give you blisters and stride on out the door. If you’re finding it hard to be motivated just take a look at your behind in the mirror. That will motivate you. It also helps if you and a neighbor can arrange to meet outside your doors at a certain time, say 6 p.m. your time and start your jaunt around town. During this jaunt you get to discuss all kinds of things and promise not to tell anyone. If your hubby’s bugging you, tell your walking buddy. Likewise–you will get to listen about what’s bugging her. Both of you can solve the world’s problems during your walk. I live near a cemetery and, surprisingly it is a peaceful place to walk. It’s quiet, there’s a herd of deer which lives there and I can read gravestones which remind me how mortal we all really are and what lack of exercise does to us.
I’m now having to think about what tip number two should be. You see, I’m supposed to be able to come up with eight tips for healthy activities during the Thanksgiving weekend. Hmmm, just what kind of activities are we talking about. Are we talking about singular activities, group activities, couples activities, activities with children, activities with parents, siblings and so on? Wow, the list could be endless.
Tip number two is to drag out your bicycles and have a slow drive around town. Generally, the weekend of Thanksgiving is still nice enough to be able to bike ride. How lovely it is to ride around and say “hello” to people. Leave your cell phone at home and listen to the traffic, or the children playing outside. Ride over to a nearby park, sit in the swings and become a kid again. Swinging is great exercise and you don’t realize you’re exercising! If you can’t ride your bike outside, then just use your inside bike. Set it up in front of the television and pedal away to your hearts content. While you’re pedaling you can pretend your biking through the countryside and looking at all the trees with their autumn colors. If you need motivation, put on some music.
Speaking of music; tip number 3–One of the things that really gets me moving is music. In fact, while I’m cooking or doing anything in the kitchen I generally have my music going. My oldest daughter has given me several great music cd’s and I find myself just a-dancin’ away while I’m stirring cookie dough or baking bread. I started doing this when I was first married. I could be in the kitchen groovin’ to my tunes and not even realize how much time was passing. So, put the music on, grab a partner and dance around the house. This is an especially fun activity if it’s snowing outside. You will have a warm, fuzzy feeling just dancing around the house and watching the snow fall. I’m a fan of the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” and I just love the dance routines in that movie. There is no way I can do them, because my knees do not let me move like that, but I can always wish. But, I can whirl my way around the house with my music turned way up.
Healthy tip number four is to play with your children or grandchildren. During this exercise, you all grab a rake and start raking leaves into a big pile. (Be careful of puppy piles on the lawn!…puppy piles are left behind after the puppy goes potty outside…get my drift?) So, being careful while you’re raking, put all the leaves in a big pile. After the leaves are in a big pile, everyone gets to take a turn at jumping into the big pile of leaves, throwing them up in the air and watching them drift down.
If you have a fireplace, you could go hunting for firewood. Find a place in the country where the trees have lost branches and start picking the branches up. Make sure that what your doing is legal and fill the pickup box with wood. Take it home, stack it and light a fire. Now, go get some marshmallows and some hot dogs and have a hot dog roasted in the fireplace and a toasted marshmallow for dessert. This constitutes a healthy activity because it is time spent with your family, picking up wood and stacking it is exercise, lighting a fire is cozy and cooking a hot dog and marshmallow is fun!–Healthy tip number 5.
Healthy tip number 6. If you live in a big town or city you can all crowd into your vehicles and go to the local mall and walk around. No buying allowed, just looking. This is a stroll to see what is available and what prices are. It’s also good for gauging what somebody might want. If you walk past the kiddie toy store and your child runs toward a particular toy, you now know what to get. If you walk past the hunting store and the husband runs toward a particular camouflage anything, now you know what to get for the man of the house. If your husband isn’t a hunter, there’s always the electronics store or book store. If the lady of the house makes a beeline for a particular piece of jewelry, just make sure the hubby is paying attention. The best way to do this is tell the clerk to pay attention. Remember you are only there to look, not buy. Buying comes later, when prices come down and stores are desperate to get rid of merchandise.
Number 7–When we lived in Wyoming we would go to the local Fish, Wildlife and Parks office and purchase a tree permit for $5 and take a trip up into the Bighorn Mountains and pick out our own Christmas tree. Yessir, a live one. Straight off the mountain! The snow was up to our tookus but we had FUN….with a capital f. Now my children are adults and (sniff) we don’t do that anymore. When we moved back to Montana many moons ago, we purchased a fake tree. When the Christmas season is over, we take the tree downstairs and just store it, decorations and all in a storage room. So, if you get a chance to go an cut down your own tree, DO IT! It makes for great memories. Trudging around in the deep, deep snow is great exercise. When you come home you have hot chocolate and toast. There you have just created a tradition.
Healthy tip number 8: I wouldn’t necessarily call this exercise. It involves two people. You and your spouse, partner, significant other or whatever you call each other…dear?…..honey?…sweetheart? No…get your mind off that. I’m talking about a nice dinner out. A date. Remember dates? That’s what you used to do before you had the pitter patter of little feet running around your house. Go out to your favorite eating establishment, even if it’s a drive-through or a pizzeria. Just spend some time together. Afterwards go for a walk and windowshop or go to a favorite movie. Hold each others hands. Talk. Find each other again.