Just get out the door
Back in the day, I was a long-distance runner. When two knee surgeries forced me to finally hang up my Asics for good in 2005, I switched to cycling. And to fill in the gaps in my fitness regime, I threw in hiking, cross-country skiing or whatever it took to get my heart rate up. Despite the variety of activities in my fitness routine, they all have one thing in common: getting out the front door.
There were times when I could come up with the most ridiculous excuses to not go for a run (let’s dust!), or to not go for a ski (let’s do our taxes!), or to not go for a hike (let’s brush the cat!), but inevitably the guilt of inactivity would get the better of me and I would dig deep and suck it up. And you know what? Getting out the door was the hardest part — every single time. Within five minutes, a smile would cross my face and I would question my sanity about a desire to dust.
It has been unseasonably cold for southern Alberta recently. Since this polar vortex began at the beginning of the month, I have felt overwhelmed by a desire to stay indoors and read and do jigsaw puzzles (my latest obsession), for what seems like weeks on end. Mountains? Who needs mountains and the great outdoors? I need edge pieces!
But a few days prior to the weekend, when I could sense a case of grumpiness coming on when I looked at the long-range forecast, I suggested to my husband that we go for a snowshoe or a spike hike, regardless of the weather. “I just need to get outside,” I exclaimed wearily.
So, on Sunday morning, we woke to -32 C, but it was sunny. Southern Alberta is known for its ample sunshine and bluebird-sky days, and this day did not disappoint. Despite the temperature, we had committed to each other and ourselves to get outside into nature. I had so many layers on that I felt like a kid overdressed for recess.
The first door we had to get out was our garage door. Success! The thermometer on our car read –28 C, as we headed west to Kananaskis. When we arrived at the trailhead, the thermometer read a balmy –25 C. Now we had to get out the second set of doors — our car’s. At this point it would have been so easy to say, “Let’s go grab a bite to eat in Canmore instead.” The pull of the scenery and the previous day’s fresh snow, not to mention the mood-lifting exercise, won out.
We threw on our spikes, grabbed our daypacks and hit the trail. Within 10 minutes of hiking, I was even warm enough to take off a layer. We both kept exclaiming what a gorgeous day it was. My earlier hesitation to venture out was replaced by an enthusiasm to take in our surroundings. My mid-week grumpiness was gone.
While it wasn’t a particularly difficult or long hike, it made the world of difference for my disposition.
Even when it’s the last thing you want to do, if you can get yourself past that inner voice and just get out the door, you likely won’t regret it. And if you’re not sure where to go, check out our Nature Destinations across the country. Many of them are open year-round (and yes, that includes winter). You can always brush the cat another day.