Movement is Medicine

Sitting down to write this column, I strategically place myself directly in front of my living room window allowing the sun to beam down on me. I close my eyes, feeling the warmth against my body and am teleported to a beach in Mexico, sipping a cold beer without a care in the world. News flash- it’s -18 and snowing, I’m sitting on the living room floor because I currently don’t own furniture, and the beer beside me is carbonated water as I’m seven months pregnant. A girl can dream, right?

If you ask me, it’s incredible what a little fresh air and Vitamin D can do for a person. Anyone else notice an increase in energy or desire to get outside when the sun pops out? Yes, it’s currently -18, but it's sunny, let’s go for a walk.

As I head out the door I check my Fitbit to see where my daily step count is at. 6,000 down. Only 4,000 to go. Walking along the river I’m in awe of the scenery. Snow covered mountain peaks, water flowing through small pockets on the river, the smell and simplicity. As I breathe in the crisp clean air I’m certain there is some sort of scientific research on the benefits. Wow, hold on - this is coming from a girl who craves summer, who counts down the days to when she can pull out her Birks for another glorious season. Who am I? Am I actually enjoying Winter?

In October I set a goal to walk 10,000 steps/day outside. It’s now March and I feel well mentally, physically and financially. You’d be shocked at how much a person can save on fuel when walking becomes the priority. Like yoga, walking outdoors has become my source of moving meditation. It allows me to become present, grounded, and calm. I won't lie, there are days I choose to stay inside, drink coffee and consume numerous cinnamon buns. It’s also not always easy convincing a three-year-old to suit up and head out for a chilly walk so 'mama can get her steps.’ But we do it, her and I. We brave the weather together and have a lot of really great conversations along the way. ( If anyone would like to explain how fish survive the winter to her, please, be my guest.) A study from McGill found that women who enrolled in a walking program for 24 weeks decreased their blood pressure by 11 points; increasing their step count to 9,000 per day. Movement really is medicine.

As we shift to a new season, I challenge you to move more and drive less. Walk/bike to the grocery store, give yourself extra time to drop off the kids, meet up with a friend for a stroll, or catch up on a podcast. I highly suggest witnessing the sunrise as it hits the Three Sisters, turning the mountains into an indescribable shade of pink. The real #ferniestoke if you know what I mean.

So grab your watch or phone (it likely has a built-in step counter) and go.get.outside.