We have all been inundated with the term "Active Lifestyle," but what that means to each of us can be very different. What is an active lifestyle? For me, an active lifestyle is about being present, living each moment to the fullest, most of the time that it involves movement and being in the game NOT on the sidelines. An active lifestyle is where magic happens, life happens, our happiness unfolds and we become the best, most fit and healthy version of ourselves. Is there really another option? Do any of us want to be LESS present, less involved, and less alive?
The secret formula for finding your own unique active lifestyle is very simple. Unfortunately, our culture, society, mainstream media and the fitness industry over-complicate the issue to the point that no one has any idea where to start. Here’s the secret formula: JUST START a daily active habit. ANYTHING counts and ANY amount of time counts. That's right, ANYTHING. Habits are hard to break, healthy and unhealthy ones alike.
Gardening, walking, tennis, yoga, hiking, riding your cruiser bike, rollerblading, golf, dance, even stretching are what I call the “gateway activities” of a long term active lifestyle. Gateway activities become a part of your life, activities that you are fully committed, completely present and 100% in the moment and simply enjoying the movement. These activities plant the seed for more experiences, more activity and more present mindful living. Once this habit is ingrained into your life you want more; more endorphin's, more mindfulness, more joy and likely more intensity in your “active lifestyle.” This is where the fitness comes into play. You need strength, mobility, endurance, and likely power to keep up with your new active lifestyle. After about 8 weeks of your gateway activity, you may want to learn to mountain bike, play in a soccer league, hike to a peak for those epic Idaho views, or maybe even run a race. Now what? Again it's simple. Your active lifestyle changes and your started a new activity like a boot camp fitness class or you hire a personal trainer. Then that activity becomes part of your healthy habit.
Maybe you start to notice you need more specific training for your new adopted active lifestyle habit. Mountain biking involves lots of endurance and core strength; so you choose to work with a fitness professional once a week on that specific goal. Pretty soon you are stronger, have more endurance, feel mentally ready to hop on that mountain bike and take the leap into your new active lifestyle. You crush the fear that you are too old, too slow, too weak, too tired, too short on time, have too many family obligations and you find your freedom in living the life that you always thought was just out of reach. And all you did was just START...ANYTHING. The active lifestyle you thought was impossible is now your LIFE and all you did was take the first step.
It is never too late to begin. Each of us can choose every day to live our lives to the fullest or we can sit on the sidelines. I challenge you to get in the game, the game of life. Start your active lifestyle today.
Stay tuned next month for more on my own personal journey and love of outdoor activity and how learning to live an active lifestyle can help you lead your most fit, healthy and happiest life!