Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Do You Dare?

"Mommy, you know what I want to do today? I want to ride bikes to the park."

Miles looked up at me with a huge grin and pleading eyes. It's hard to say no to that face and that request, especially as park trips have been few and far between this summer (record rain and flooded playgrounds).

But, I had to be practical. Miles is not ready to bike to the playground, which is two miles away, and Si is not big enough for the Burley Bee.

And, if I was being honest, I was tired, too. I was fresh out of the shower after the New Haven 10K. Exercise was the furthest thing from my mind.

"I'm sorry, bud," I told him. "I'm not sure we can ride bikes to the park."

"Please, oh, please. I really want to."

OK, then, I thought. We'll make this work.

And work it we did. I decided that I would strap Silas in the Ergo and get Miles in the BOB. We could have a nice walk to the park, maybe stopping at the neighborhood cafe for iced coffee along the way, and hit up the playground. When Mark was finished with a project, he could pick us up. I was tired but one of the many benefits of an active lifestyle is being able to do things like this with my children.

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An active lifestyle is not just about how many hours you log in the gym or miles you run. It's about adding movement to your daily routine in such a way that it's not a chore. It's about fueling our bodies and treating ourselves with the respect we deserve. It's about taking small steps and making big changes.

Small steps like:

• Walking to a meeting instead of driving. It has been my MO this summer to walk my work errands. It might take a few extra minutes but it saves me from having to pay a parking meter and helps me log a few extra steps on my FitBit.

• Adding a cool down walk to my runs. My plan might say 4 miles but I will create a 4.25- or 4.5-mile route. I stop my Soleus at 4 miles and walk the rest of the way home. Sounds tedious? Maybe. However, it gives me a chance to catch my breath, wipe my brow and collect myself before going home and becoming a mom again. Also, I add a few more steps to the FitBit* total.

• Veggies --> Protein --> Carbs. As I plan my meals to improve my waistline and take advantage of local farmers markets, I try to start with a vegetable, follow with protein and treat carbs as an after thought. Example: Summer Squash Taco Boats. Vegetable: Summer squash. Protein: Lean ground pork. Carb: Lime-Cilantro brown rice.

And that's what UnitedHealthcare is trying to promote this month as part of its We Dare You to Share campaign. Each month, the company run three new dares through our We Dare You to Share website to engage with people daring them to be healthier. The month of August's dares include using the hashtag #GetActiveWDY to share how you are getting active, testing your smarts by taking a quick muscle quiz, and doing a concentration game matching healthy snacks. UnitedHealthcare wants its audience to learn about living a full, healthy life in a fun and interactive way.

Overall health is the real prize of an active lifestyle but UnitedHealthcare is offering an incentive. By completing each dare participants will be entered for a chance to win a number of prizes such as, several weekly $25 visa gift cards, two $400 visa gift card, and a $400 Sports Authority gift card.

$400 to Sports Authority? A gift card like that can go a long way in supporting a healthy lifestyle.

Thank you to UnitedHealthcare for sponsoring this post, and thank you for your continued support of Healthy Strides.

*I am ridiculously competitive with my FitBit steps. I have never, ever been ranked No. 1 among my friends (no thanks to BRF and her marathon training) but it doesn't stop me from trying to catch them.

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