Winter has most definitely arrived in the midwest. We've shoveled snow already.... 4 times? More? Is it sad that tomorrow is the first day of December and I've already lost count?
I talk a lot about the importance of WALKING. Just like we need certain nutrients in our diet, we NEED walking. Think of walking as the movement equivalent of a kale salad, or a grassfed beef liver, or some bone stock (which I currently have simmering as we speak).
You body NEEDS to walk. And just because it's winter, that biological requirement doesn't go away.
So what's a gal or guy to do?
First... can I admit something? I haven't been very good at walking the last 2-3 weeks. Actually, I have not been practicing what I preach at all. And you know what? I started getting some pain in my right glute. Not. Cool. So guess what? I started walking again (and of course all my stretching and strengthening Restorative Exercise™ practices) and the pain is almost gone now. I know I need to move so I'm preaching it here- YOU need to as well!
Here are my quick tips for walking in the winter.
1. JUST DO IT.
Seems silly, but it's so freaking true. It's cold. But BUNDLE THE FRICK UP. It's amazing to me how whiney us Minnesotans can be (myself included, just ask my husband), but we chose (or maybe we didn't, but still) to live in a place that can get really cold, so we need to just get some WARM WARM clothes and schedule in some walking just like we normally would. Maybe get up an hour before the kids? Or take an afternoon walk (or both)? I highly recommend some layers- and that doesn't even mean spending a lot of money. Two pairs of pants on extra cold days, your warm jacket a scarf (to keep your shoulders away from your ears!!!), a nice warm hat, and some gloves. Just layer up and go! Grandma says so...
2. Like I said, BUNDLE UP!
I highly suggest you especially wear a nice scarf. I've been working a ton on my shoulders and upper body mobility lately and the LAST thing I want is to shiver so hard with my shoulders up around my ears all winter and cause that kinda adaptation in my body when I've worked so hard to DROP the shoulders down. I'm sure you don't want all that neck, shoulder, upper back tension either! So wear a scarf!
3. Minimal Winter Boots!
And wool socks. Wear the wool socks! I really love Smart Wool brand, but they're also expensive and I'm cheap, so I also have some nice socks from Costco that I love. And don't ruin your feet all winter with clunky, stiff, heeled boots! I am currently wearing Merrell Havens and Vivobarefoot Kulas when it's too cold for the more flexible Havens. They're both pretty cute! The Kulas are much warmer than the Haven's, but not as flexible which is why....
4. Do your foot work!
So SO important to keep the foot mobile with some simple exercises. Really ramp up the foot work this winter. I promise you'll especially thank me in the spring! Our feet are our foundation and if they aren't happy... the rest of us won't be either. It may take time to see the effects of poor foot health, but I promise you- just like if the tires of your car are out of alignment the rest of the car wears down quicker- same goes for your body.
Here are a few simple stretches:
Top of the foot stretch
Ball under the foot
Use a pinky ball, yoga tune up ball, racquet ball, or tennis ball on the bottom of your feet. You could spend a lot of time doing this- I like to work slowly up and down the far left, middle, and right side of the foot. I wiggle my toes, spread my toes, try lifting one toe at a time, all while having the ball knead out the bottom of the foot. It hurts so good! Really find those "sticky" spots and work them!
PS- my tattoo means "sister" in greek and my two sisters have the same one. Since I know you're wondering now.
I don't have a picture of this one right now (I'll take a video tomorrow perhaps, too late tonight), but try to lift each toe individually and try to set each toe down individually. I practice this in the shower, sometimes. I only tell you this because I think it's important for people to understand that the ART of movement is doing it ALL the time. Working it INTO your day. Because otherwise you (or at least *I*) just won't do it. We live for excuses (or at least *I* do).
There you have it! My super simple way to get out and get going! I am going to take my own advice and set an alarm and go for a walk tomorrow before my kids wake up. Don't hate me but the kids sleep in until at least 8am, and we often don't roll out of bed until 9am. Yes, I know come new baby things will be a bit different. So, I'm going to attempt to haul my lazy butt out of bed at 6:30 or so and go for a nice adult paced walk. I go on plenty of kid paced walks... mostly toddler paced walks. Meaning... stopping every 3 seconds to look at a hunk or snow or point out a tree or squirrel. There is such healing and love in that kind of walk and I practice a lot of balance and squatting while waiting for her. So that's good. But there is something to be said for an adult pace! So I'm DOING it. Who is going to join me? One walk a day. Whatever length makes sense for you. On super cold days maybe it's 3 blocks. But that's 3 blocks more than zero, RIGHT?!?!
ONE INTENTIONAL ADULT PACED WALK A DAY ALL WINTER. Can we do it?! If you want in, comment. Let's keep each other accountable on my FACEBOOK page. Mostly I know that if I put this out there I will be forced to practice what I preach and all of a sudden pregnancy is making me extra whiney about the cold. So I'm going to BUCK UP and I hope you will join me! ONE intentionally adult paced walk a day. And if it's get frost bite in 3 seconds cold, mall walking is permitted. I'll post pictures on my walks, and I hope you will too. If you live somewhere warmer... you can join too... but I might punch you if you post a picture of yourself walking in a t-shirt on a beach or something. Just sayin'.
May they odds be ever in your favor.
PS- No treadmills allowed on this challenge. If you want to know why, read Junk Food Walking by Katy Bowman.
With the holiday season approaching, I thought I would make a gift guide! Today will be my guide for CHILDREN and I'll do one for adults as well. I don't know about your kids, but my kids do NOT need another toy. Seriously. I recently went through my kids toys (while they were not home, naturally) with a big bag and got rid of everything that they haven't played with in a while. Which happens to be the vast majority of their stuff. I love that people love my kids so much and love giving them things, but it gets overwhelming when you have 3 (almost 4!) kids trying to fit all their stuff in your house. And our house isn't even THAT small! So.... here is my list of healthy, movement friendly gifts for children! Note: I don't get anything for any of these suggestions and I did not shop around for the best price or option for any of these- just linked to an idea of what I was talking about.
1. A Slack Line
Okay, so I kinda want this for MYSELF as well. I know they might not get to play with it outside for a couple of months, but I saw one at Creative Kidstuff (one of the coolest toy store in the Twin Cities!) that you can actually set up indoors with some stands! Awesome. A great way for kids to work on balance and explore movement! Bonus that you get to explore movement WITH your kids. The family that moves together stays together, right?
2. Indoor trapeze/hanging bar.
We have a pull up bar and I'm pretty sure we are going to buy some sort of adapter to add to it like this so that the kids can play around like this. Not that they don't already hang around on the bar. While we don't have one of these door frame ones- I think they are FANTASTIC. I can just see my kids flipping all over the place all year long. Me too.... actually
3. Or what about an indoor/outdoor hanging ring thing?
I think I am getting THIS one for my kids. My husband and I are busy at work on our indoor monkey bar set and this will hang from it for hours of hanging fun- especially great that the 2 year old will be able to reach it without someone lifting her up!
4. Minimal Winter Boots
Here is my 2 year old in the winter boots my kids are wearing this year. They're actually rain boots with liners because they are relatively inexpensive for a minimal option, have no heel (have you SEEN kids winter boots?!) and pretty flexible to boot (GET IT... TO BOOT? Moving on....). They are Stonz brand. Keep in mind that Stonz makes winter boots as well, but those look pretty darn beefy with a heel and no flexibility. Maybe it won't be your kids FAVORITE gift. Or maybe it will. Who knows.
5. Make them some indoor monkey bars!
I really really REALLY want to do this in the hallway upstairs. AND I'M GOING TO. My husband and I are not super handy, so if anyone wants to seriously trade private sessions for making this in my house. Let's do this. How fun and awesome would this be? Both for the kids AND the adults. Might be hard to wrap but... they won't mind!
I actually got about halfway done with this post and my husband and I actually just bought to wood to drill into the walls this afternoon- so its really happening! WHOOP!
6. Stocking Stuffer- Toe Socks!
I think fun colors of toe socks would be great in the stocking! It helps kids toes and feet... and therefore whole body. And they're just plain fun, too. My kids love wearing toe socks! Who would've known in the 90's that they would "come back" but in an aligned way, right? I should've saved all my multi colored toed socks. Seriously. Wait, am I the only one that wore toe socks in the 90's?
7. Rope Ladder.
How much fun would this be? Climb, babies, climb!! I plan to attach it to the monkey bars, but you could really just hang eye bolts from the ceiling or find something to attach it to. I'm sure a tree branch would work in the warmer months as well!
9. And last but not least.... consumables! Always a part of our Christmas shopping. My kids LOVE crafts, coloring, markers, crayons, paper, cool art supplies. I am NOT going to take a picture of what our craft room currently looks like.... but... it's bad. Or good, depending on how you look at it. It definitely gets used.
Mama Aligned is Lindsay McCoy.