Healthy Living in the North

The fun in getting active

Bonnie at Zumba

Being active is what you make it! Bonnie (right) found a love of activity in Zumba dance.

“I want to be active and healthy but I don’t like the gym.” This is an excuse that many of us have heard or even said ourselves. I used to be this person. To me, the idea of being active meant getting up early, grabbing my gym bag, and heading to the gym, followed later by sweat and tears, moans and groans, heavy weights and lots of reps. If you think that being active takes a gym or fancy fitness equipment, think again.

For me the hardest part of being active was getting started and finding the time. As do most of us these days, I live a very busy and hectic life. It seems as if I’m always busy with work and taking care of the family but never taking the time to put myself first. Knowing that I needed to make a change, I decided to join my fellow co-workers in a healthier you challenge, the concept of which was to challenge ourselves to find ways that would allow us to adapt healthy behaviors into our everyday lives. One component of the challenge was to get moving. It didn’t matter what we did as long as we moved.

Walking was something that I had always enjoyed in the past so I decided that I would give it another try.  One day after work I went home, got my dog and we went for a walk. It wasn’t a long walk, it wasn’t a far walk, but I was out there being active and not at home sitting on my coach. I was amazed to see how quickly I was already starting to see the benefits. In just a couple of short weeks, I was already walking farther and quicker. My mood was better and I was happy.

Seeing the positive outcomes that walking was making in my life allowed me to explore other ways of being active. A lot of people at work started talking about this fun way of working out called Zumba, so I decided to give it a try, but in the privacy of my own home. I purchased a Zumba DVD and I fell in love with it! I loved it so much that I actually developed the confidence to go join a class.

Being active really is all about what you make it. Choosing an activity that you enjoy can really take the work out of it and it’s a first step to becoming healthier. It helps reduce stress, strengthens the heart and lungs, increases energy levels and improves your outlook on life. If you’re like me and don’t want to go the gym, there are lots of fun ways that you can be active. Look for simple ways to be active every day such as:

  • Go visit a local park
  • Go for a hike or ride your bike
  • Try out a new workout DVD
  • Take a 10-minute brisk walk
  • Try snowshoeing
  • Take the dog for a walk
  • Go swimming
  • Dance around your kitchen

What about you? What fun ways do you get active?

[Editor’s note:  This is a great example of what the key message “Active is what you make it – use muscles, not motors!means to Bonnie. Tell us what it means to you! Visit our Picture YOU Healthy contest page for more details on your chance to win!]

Bonnie Harper

About Bonnie Harper

With NH for the past five years, Bonnie works as a population health regional tobacco reduction coordinator in the northeast. Bonnie is passionate about community development and mobilizing communities. She encourages communities to develop their own vision of health and wellness from a holistic perspective and then to connect with the resources available to realize that potential. In her personal life, Bonnie has jumped on the health wagon and through NH challenges (like the September Healthy Living Challenge), has realized that there are realistic, creative and doable ways of making little changes to her lifestyle that reap big benefits for her health. She thinks that making health number one is so much easier with challenges that are positive, engaging and full of support from other team members.