Way before it was cool to run, do yoga, or be a vegetarian, my parents were doing things their own way. Now in their 50’s, I can see what a huge difference their lifestyle has made on their health and appearance. Here are some of the things I think made the biggest difference:
10. Active family fun time. Sunday hikes, cross-country skiing, swimming, biking, shooting hoops in the driveway…you name it! Instead of plopping in front of the TV all the time, we were out playing.
9. Active transportation. When possible, my parents walked or biked to work and us kids always had to walk to school (though we complained sometimes). One summer my mom hooked up a little trailer to her bike so she could take my little sister and her friend around town. Not only does active transportation multi-task (workout and errands at the same time) it also saves money on gas and is environmentally friendly. When I was 18 my mom gave me the oldest road bike of life and told me that was my ride to work. I actually miss that 2 hour bike ride to the beach – it was a great way to start the day.
8. Grow your own food. Fresh fruits and vegetables from your own backyard taste so much better! Maybe it’s because they’re fresher or because they’re not covered in nasty pesticides, but in either case, they are delicious and nutritious!
7. Plan ahead. I don’t think my mom has ever missed a work out in her life! Whether it was a busy day or a holiday, she planned out the next day so that she got her exercise in, along with everything else.
6. Invest in experiences rather than “stuff”. Granted you need some stuff, but they were much more interested in providing us with opportunities to do things (music, French, sports, etc.) than giving us brand name clothes and toys. I’m not against stuff but I am well aware that you can’t take any of it with you when you go.
5. Left Fort McMurray and came back to Nova Scotia. That’s right, I’m an oil baby. nothing against Fort Mac but Nova Scotia has so much more going for it: the cost of living is lower, it isn’t as dark and cold in the winter, and it’s surrounded by the beautiful ocean.
4. Vegetarian Tendencies. We ate meat but certainly not all the time. To this day my favorite meal is mom’s homemade vegetarian chili. She also makes an awesome spinach lasagna. When we did eat meat it was fresh and unprocessed (skinless chicken breast rather than bologna).
3. No smoking. Some of my friends smoke and so do some of their parents. I don’t judge that choice, but it is sad that they are willingly putting themselves in harm’s way. Lung cancer, emphysema, and COPD are not pleasant diseases. It can also make people look old and worn out.
2. They have their own life. My dad has always been into sports, but he’s also been involved in community theater and loves playing his guitar. My mom has been involved in so many community events that it’s hard to keep track of! They share a lot but they also have their own interests and do their own thing. No wonder they’re not bored of each other yet!
1. Have Fun! Life’s too short not to enjoy it with the ones you love. There’s always something you can create or do together – whether it’s playing chess, rug hooking, or making pickles. It might sound a little old fashioned, but sometimes all you need is a little imagination and creativity to have a good time.