I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in Austin, Texas. If you have never been there before, you are immediately blown away at how active the whole entire community is. Wherever we went, suburbs and downtown alike, everyone was walking, biking and running. Of course this got me thinking-is your environment active?
As human beings, we naturally conform to our social environment, or at least are heavily influenced by it. Think about it-when was the last time you went to the grocery store on your bicycle? Or took a jog to stop over at a friend’s house? Probably not too recently. But if that’s what everyone in your neighborhood or community did, I bet you would be much more likely to take part in such lifestyle habits.
Let’s look at another example such as your work environment. If you work in an industry that is mainly sedentary, and the only exercise you experience is getting up from your cubicle to grab office goodies such as donuts and cookies, then you definitely will be negatively impacted by this environment. Trust me, it’s very hard to be the person who packs a cooler full of salads and chooses to work out on her lunch breaks! Now on the flip side of that, what if you worked at a fitness center-what would that environment look like? I can tell you first hand that eating fast food becomes taboo, comparing healthy lunch ideas is the norm, and encouragement to others to get moving is the standard. How do you think this type of energy would impact your activity levels?
Now I know you may be thinking that you don’t have the opportunity to work at a place like that, but I am here to tell you that you have the power to create an active environment for you, your family, and your friends-no matter where you work or live. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Wake up a little earlier and make you or your family a healthy breakfast
- Ask your co-workers to start a lunch break workout program with you
- Pack your lunch instead of eating out
- Once per week, ask co-workers if they want to bring in a healthy meal and share it
- Find a friend that will take a group exercise class a couple evenings per week with you
- Turn family outings into active outings: go for a walk, bike ride, hike or swim
- One night per week, make dinner with a friend or as a family-choose a healthy option of course
These are just a few ideas to begin making lifestyle changes, but really take a close look to see if your environment is active. If there is anything that needs to change, take control and make any positive changes necessary. Your long-term healthy and quality of life definitely depends on it.
*The information on this site is designed for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Thank you!
~by Kimberly Olson