Hidden Gems


imageThe Acupuncture Turning Point collaborates with Nicole and Len, owners of Breathe Fitness, to help our clients be at their best.

Go to the Breathe Fitness website to find out more…

by Len Panchuk, MSc, PTS of Breathe Fitness

Living just a few blocks away from the Mill Creek Ravine affords an access point to our extensive and nearly continuous trail system here in Edmonton.  Staying right in the ravine itself, though, is more than enough for every outdoor activity throughout the year.  And the best part about this hidden gem is that very few people seem to actually use it!  Whether alone time on my one-speed bike, using the trails as a means to lengthen our walk on the way for a Sunday afternoon coffee meet-up, or creating an impromptu scavenger hunt while randomly traversing the trails before dropping in unannounced on friends – these ‘reasons’ to be active never register in my mind as hobbies.  It is just what my parnter, Nicole, and I do with our kids – alone, with friends, as a family, or as a couple.

If ever asked to state my hobbies and interests, I would absolutely and unequivocally list “people watching” as my number one choice (hopefully with no need to check off the subcategory “creepy”).  At the end of the day, quite literally, it doesn’t matter how many other people were out on the trails on Monday nights last winter.  After the kids were in bed, and Nicole was hunkered down into bed with her book, I would strap on my snowshoes and head down the alley to the ravine for my regular circuit.  The majority of the time the only other exercisers I would cross paths with on the trail were dogs and their owners, or no one at all.  Sorry, no spreadsheets were created from these walks.  But, I would make a guess on how many people (and dogs) I would see walking, tobogganing, or cross-country skiing.  A few weeks in and it would flow just like clockwork that at almost the exact same points, the same people would materialize. 

Setting up a regular routine that is uniquely your own seems to provide an impetus to staying active.  Even during our seemingly 7-month winter, with many  nights dipping below -20, there are still a few other brave souls out there in the ravine facing the cold that sears their lungs and makes icy tears in their eyes.  Watching the dog owners hoofing along in the wake of their canine snowplows, I always ponder about whether their responsibility of keeping their pets active is the prime reason they are out.

How does a commitment to our own physical health and mental well-being factor in?  Can we envision our dog or friend as more than our companion?  Maybe they are like a personal trainer.  Maybe like me, some merely need to be out-doing-it-for-the-doing-it-alone.  Maybe all it takes to get motivated and stay moving on a chilly day is a pair of snowshoes or a traveling companion.  How will you continue to garner momentum toward the responsibility of your own health this winter?