Winter Strolls, Without the Stroller

The Epoch Times offered four tips toward family fitness during the holidays. A couple of them are obvious to me: get active as a family and, contrarily, fight the urge to sink into the sofa throughout the holiday season (I might have grouped these two together).

One that I thought was a good suggestion was “Turn shopping into a family sport”, the idea that faster isn’t necessarily better when you can afford the time. Taking the stairs rather than the elevator and taking the least efficient route throughout the mall can turn even a shopping trip into an opportunity for exercise:

Zigzag the mall to get all the gifts on your list, take the stairs, and skip the escalators and elevators. Calorie burn can triple for each minute of stair climbing vs. mall walking, so take the stairs whenever you can.

I take this bullet as a challenge to turn every outing into an active one, which is something the winter weather can dissuade us from doing.

At our kids’ ages, 2 and almost 4, our children are too young to keep up with our regular walking pace and the temptation, especially when shopping, is to grab the umbrella stroller for our youngest to be most efficient. But doing this both excludes him from participating with the family equally and also from getting the same level of activity as the rest of us. And just try to get a child who has been confined to strollers and car seats to chill out toward bedtime. Inevitably, he still has energy to burn.

So for our most recent shopping trips — whether at the mall, the Home Depot for weather stripping, or Michael’s for holiday crafting supplies — we have left the stroller in the car. Sure we have to slow our pace a little and put a few things back on the rack that would have been out of reach to him. But at least we’re giving our whole family the opportunity to keep moving on these outings, which is so important given the restrictions of the colder months.

Turns out even indoor winter wonderlands are made for walking.

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