Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Getting out Vs. getting outside - does it matter?

I was driving home tonight from another amazing Zumba class, reveling in the fact that I'd just burned between 700 and 1000 calories in an hour while smiling the whole time, when a shocking thought crossed my mind.  I hadn't been outside yet today and I didn't care.  My son also hadn't played outside today and that was ok with me too.

It seems like my more controversial articles are most read (confessions of a less than perfect mountain mama for example) so let's make this interesting again, shall we?  Below are five things I honestly believe about getting outside. 

One:  It's important to get some exercise every day but I don't think it matters if you do it indoors or outdoors.  I feel amazing right now in my post-zumba bliss and am pretty sure I wouldn't feel as good if I had only taken a 15 minute walk instead.  I actually struggle weekly with my conflicting loves for Zumba and hiking.  I can be euphoric after only one hour of Zumba.  Hiking usually requires a greater time commitment for the same joy.  I don't want this article to become all about my obsession for zumba (that could be another blog in and of itself) but the point here is that I enjoy exercise that is typically done indoors.  Yoga is perhaps the best example there.  Not many people in Calgary are doing outdoor Yoga in the winter.  No explanation needed there.

Playing in the basement
Two:  It's important for children to get playtime every day but I don't think they have to play outdoors every day.  I took my son to the mall today to visit Grandpa and we went to the indoor play park.  My son ran around for half an hour and had a blast.  It was really cold here today, -6 Celsius and windy, and there is no way my son would have enjoyed going to an outdoor playground as much.  Perhaps your children are hardier than mine but it just isn't all that important to me where my child plays.  I just want him to play; to climb, to crawl under things, to run around, and to interact with other children.

At the mall's playpark

Three:  I  believe it's important to choose your battles.  I have gone cross-country skiing when it was -30 Celsius and we took our son.  I've gone hiking when it was so windy we almost fell off the ridge we were on.  I've climbed in Nepal and trust me - I know what cold is!  I actually enjoy hiking in the fall when it's cool and your throat burns.  I love snowshoeing and I don't care how cold it is on a Saturday because rarely will I pass up an opportunity to go skiing.  However, if it's a Tuesday afternoon, my husband is working, it's cold, cloudy, windy and gray outside, and there's other things perhaps more interesting to do than take another walk around the neighborhood, I'm going to jump on those other activities.   Maybe I just lack creativity and we could have found an amazing thing to do outside this afternoon, but our visit to the mall was pretty fun.  We didn't see any frogs, worms, bugs or wild life but we saw hamsters, puppies, fish, and colorful birds instead.  Not such a bad trade-off.

More fun at the mall

Four:  I think it's important to get out of the house every day when possible.  I understand when illness confines you to the house but putting that aside, we always get out of the house.  We go to play classes, we go swimming, we go to the gym together, we go shopping, and often we also go for a big walk.  For us though, it is less important that we get outside than it is that we get out. Be it shopping or walking, we just have to get out.

Indoor gym

Five:  I think it's very important to get outside every week.  I would go as far as to say that for us it's very important that we get to the mountains every week.  On a daily basis however, I am a little more relaxed and I don't feel we are harmed by not being outside in contact with nature.  I'm hoping my son will still grow up with a love for nature even if we skip some days connecting with it.

Yay for Gymboree!
The zumba bliss is wearing off and I'm feeling very sleepy.  I also promised my husband the computer for at least half an hour before bed.  I'd just like to leave you with the invitation to please comment on my story and let me know what you think.

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