It’s a fact, eating right and staying active is key for health. We all know someone we consider “healthy.” Be it a family member who’s always cooking nutritious meals, a co-worker who goes to the gym during their lunch, or perhaps an old version of you! Even I have colleagues and friends who I look up to for their healthy lifestyle behaviours.
I often wonder how people keep up a healthy lifestyle despite having a full agenda, being busy professionals (some with children as well), and keeping up with day-to-day chores. So I decided to do some research. I posed three questions to three fellow, hardworking British Columbians.
1. What’s your favourite way to be active? Do you get to do it as much as you’d like?
A friend of mine answered with:
“My favourite ways to be active include outdoor time with my family (bike rides, nature walks, beach time, pool time), beachcombing, Frisbee, cycling to work, cycle touring, cross country skiing, snowboarding and skating outdoors. No, I don’t get to do these activities as much as I’d like. The main reason is that having young children introduces a number of constraints… At this time of my life my main ways of being active are either family friendly (low cost, flexible, local, interesting to kids, low stress) or cycle commuting to work. When the kids get a little older I hope to be able to ramp up our activity with longer bike rides, skiing and skating.”
We asked a friend from Twitter, @BeingKulvir, as well:
“My favourite way to be active is walking and hiking the North Shore Trails…I have always enjoyed being outside and love nature. It is so peaceful and it can change your outlook for the day just spending 5 minutes outside breathing fresh air.”
2. When you feel like you’re ‘falling off track’, what helps you get back to where you want to be?
“I try not to fall off track even though it gets tougher to be outside in the winter months. But I know right away if I do because my energy level is low.”
Here’s my colleague’s solution:
“It’s important to build healthy habits, those tendencies that keep you active even when you don’t really feel like it. Making cycle commuting my default option gets me active even on those wet miserable days. The other thing is to recognize how being active improves your life. For me personally, I feel more energized and less stressed when I bike in (compared to driving).”
3. What would you say to a friend asking advice on how to fit in physical activity?
It comes back to commuting for my colleague:
“For me, building activity into my commute has been the best way to keep active while meeting the day to day demands of parenting.”
Walking is @BeingKulvir’s suggestion:
“Take 30 minutes out of your day and go for a walk. You can drop off your kids at school by walking with them, go for a walk at lunch time, setup a walking meeting with colleagues or go for an after dinner walk with your family.”
Did these answers surprise you? I was astonished that the people I considered “super healthy” also had challenges themselves. Looking back at the answers, I picked out three re-occurring things.
- Staying active is easier when you incorporate physical activity into the day through active commuting or walking during meetings
- Being active helps keep your energy levels up and makes you feel good
- Combining being active with things you love brings you joy. For example, being active with family and kids or exploring the outdoors.
There are no secrets to leading a healthy lifestyle. Make a plan, choose something you enjoy and you’ll reap the health benefits of physical activity.
Now, ask yourself those three questions. Are your answers similar? Or very different? Share in the comments below!
Healthlink BC: Healthy Eating: Influence on Eating Behaviour