Saturday was glorious … absolutely glorious. A true Indian summer day in Boston, upper 70s, sunny. How could we not go outside? Knowing the leaf peepers would be in full swing in the countryside we decided to go for an urban hike.
Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? How do you “hike” in the city? Especially one at sea level? Well it’s quite doable!
First off, wear whatever you want. I opted for jeans and a T-shirt. Second, wander wherever your heart takes you. There will be blocks where you chug along and blocks were you amble, window-shopping or even popping inside a business establishment. Since everyone’s in a good mood, feel free to stay and chat. Third, head to your nearest park and, if possible, bring a ball (any kind of ball really) and have a … ball!
My husband, son, and I ambled down Newbury Street, stopped in at a friend’s store, had lunch at an outdoor cafe, headed through the Public Garden (with a quick pitstop at the “Make Way for Ducklings” statues), and on to Boston Common with our ball. After checking out the Frog Pond, we started kicking the ball around and generally having an excellent time.
We arrived home a little tired and ready for Family Movie Night (“Ghostbusters” … my son was guffawing). It was a truly great day.
As far as our workout effort went, yes it was pretty tame, although we did work up a sweat playing soccer. You can definitely intensify your urban trek by selecting where you walk. Hiking over by the Franklin Park Zoo is pretty strenuous and there’s a lot to see; ditto for the Arnold Arboretum. My favorite place to workout as a family is along the Charles River, the paths go for miles and miles and whether biking, walking, running, or even rollerblading, you get beautiful scenery and a lot of like-minded people.
One of my gripes about family fitness is it’s often disjointed. The kids are playing soccer and doing karate while the parents are slogging away on the treadmill at the gym. If you think about integrating fitness as a family, it soon becomes more of a way of life as opposed to something you tick off of a to do list. Doesn’t that sound so much better?
Think of exercise options your family likes to do as individuals and see if you can integrate them into a family activity. We combined hiking, a personal fave of mine, with soccer, my son’s favorite sport. (And I happily snuck in a little shopping too.)
By the way we’re also very big fans of urban kayaking.
(Full disclosure: Harvard Pilgrim is paying me for this series of posts, but I am very definitely writing with full editorial control. Mommy Niri and I came up with the challenges on our own. Don’t forget to check out how she made out this week!)
photo credit: Rupert Ganzer