Spring cleaning: Not just for the basement
It’s finally spring. Although, for the most part, we had a pretty mild winter here on the prairies (in Saskatchewan we keep our fingers crossed until early April). But even with spring-like weather all winter long, there’s still a different feeling when real-deal, official spring comes. You can tell when it happens. The days are longer. The air is filled with the smell of growth and the songs of birds you haven’t hear in months. The sound of running water reminds you of when street streams were battlefields and race ways for toothpicks and anything we could get to float. It’s glorious. And the snow’s gone for good, too (fingers still crossed). However, it has left a mess in its wake. A mess beyond the dirty piles of gravel on our lawns and the dog poop stew made in the park all winter long by inconsiderate pet owners (for my dog poop diatribe, read The Dog Days of Spring from my kids’ poetry blog).
In response, our minds turn to cleaning out our houses, both inside and out. We rake lawns, wash windows and empty basements, looking to do away with the debris we’ve accumulated over the winter months. But what about the debris that’s attached itself to our bodies?
You know what I’m talking about. The box(es) of Pot of Gold at Christmas. The beer every week with friends. The sitting on the couch. It adds up. We shouldn’t forget this accumulation either. But that doesn’t mean you have to go buy an expensive gym membership and a compression-everything wardrobe right out of the gate. There are simple activities you can do with the whole family and set an example for your kids that being healthy can be fun. And it doesn’t require a Wii board or anything. Want to know what it is? Ok, here we go:
Go for a walk.
Earth shattering, isn’t it? But it’s proof positive that one small change can have a huge impact. My wife and I decided to make sure we went for a walk with the boys and dog every night, right after dinner. We drive to different parts of the city and walk different paths every night. And it’s been awesome. I’ve heard it takes 21 days to create a new habit, but this was instantaneous. We all love it and look forward to it every day.
And there are many opportunities to change it up and get a real workout with the kids. We always stop at the park after a half hour or so and play tag. The kids love it, and I get my heart pumping by running through gravel and climbing monkey bars.
It also makes bedtime a lot easier – the boys fall asleep right away. It feels good to be away from the TV. And it feels great to be able to set a healthy example for the kids, while getting to have actual conversations with the people I love the most. Everybody wins.
So get out there with the family and put one foot in front of the other. Go to parks you’ve never been to, big and small (don’t underestimate the power of any new playground on your children, regardless of its size or quality). Just keep on truckin’.
You’ll be happy where it takes you.