You’ve probably seen thousands of articles about how to lose weight, build muscle, eat healthier, and increase your motivation to work out on a daily basis. I know that I certainly have – back when I started into my fitness journey, I turned to books for information on these topics.
These days, I rely a lot more on daily fitness tips and tricks from the Spartan Workout of the Day (bear crawls and burpees, baby); NerdFitness (particularly the fun and challenging 60-day PLP workout); and P90X. I track and monitor my progress using my smartphone; the S Health App is an incredible tool for ensuring that I’m consuming sufficient daily calories to balance with my workout routine. These tools are free and quite simple to get started with – all I require for a workout is a water bottle, comfortable clothing, and my favorite pair of sneakers.
On a deeper level, however, I maintain an active lifestyle by loving my home town. I bike, hike, dog walk, and wander through Kitchener-Waterloo at all times of year. There is even a positive correlation here; traveling by foot through my local urban habitat allows me to experience all the nuances and pleasures of that landscape, which makes me love the area more, which encourages me to walk/bike/hike it more often. I believe that this connection can grow despite the degree of walkability in any given city – if you get out and get moving in your home town, you will find reasons to love it (some researchers evaluate this connection within the context of place attachment and urban place identity).
Of course, I’ve loved my home town much more since I moved closer to the urban core of Kitchener. Living out in the ‘burbs can be a bit of a car-oriented drag. My new location near the core means that I can hop on my bike to perform my daily errands – and feel good about doing them, too! For those who do live further from the core, trails and parks can be a more accessible and feasible option for getting active locally.
Health care professionals and urban planners might argue that there are much more complex factors at play in the connection between people, their health, and their local urban environment (e.g. crime and safety in natural areas). I agree with them, but would urge the everyday person to consider simply stepping outside their front door to build a strong body and a deep love for their home town!