one of the best ways to ensure that we are able to indulge during the holidays, but still have a balance and stay healthy, is to develop healthy holiday traditions. last week i discussed one such tradition that is a personal favorite of mine – cutting down our family Christmas tree. another healthy holiday tradition one can begin, is a holiday fun run.
throughout my years, i have developed a reputation for initiating holiday fun runs, even amongst groups of non-runners. it is a reputation i am proud to have.
in 2009 i lived up to this reputation when i managed to convince my family that we should all gather over the holidays to participate in the YMCA Jingle Bell Run. everyone in my family is active; but, at the time, none of them were runners. in spite of that minor detail, somehow they all agreed to sign up with me. the photo above shows our original group of runners for that first run, 9 years ago .
the idea of the run was to have a fun family gathering and to all enjoy a day of activity and laughter together. everyone ran the distance that was best for them, at the pace that was best for them. regardless of when everyone crossed the finish line, we had a great time together, got into the Christmas cheer, and managed to burn a few calories along the way.
i had a blast at the run that first year; but i knew that i would.
i just hoped that it would stick with the rest of my family members.
and boy did it.
9 years later, and our healthy holiday tradition is still going strong. we manage to recruit new members of our “running team” each year. in that time frame i have seen “non-runners” in my family catch the running bug and go on to sign up for bigger and more serious races. i have watched the youngins in our family grow to love this fun run and learn the importance of exercise in our lives. i have paced my post-knee-replacement mom through the run, to help her attain her goal of winning her age group. and i have watched my 3 year old nephew sprint almost a full 2 miles so that he could beat the rest of his family in the race.
this healthy holiday tradition is one that is i love and it is something that anyone can do.
it doesn’t matter if you have a running background or not. it doesn’t matter if you are in shape or not. it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, have good joints or bad. if you decide you want to do it, you can do it however it is best for you.
walk it or run it. either way you are doing something that is very good for heart and good for your soul; and you will not regret.