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My Live Active story isn't just about being physically fit, it's about being mentally fit too. Living active sometimes means catching up with a friend while we walk through our neighbourhood, or letting go of a stressful day while I ski on our city's wonderfully groomed cross-country trails, or even saving money on gas by riding my bike to the grocery store instead of driving.

In my life, I've gone through many phases when it comes to physical activity. There was a time when I would wake up every day at 6am to go to the gym. I would force myself to go, and shame myself when I didn't. Another phase I went through was "hot yoga", where I measured my success by how much I sweat through my clothes after a class. I also went through a "spin class" phase, where I would join challenges and sometimes even go twice a day just so I could get more stamps on my card! Through all my phases, not only did my wallet take a hit, but so did my mental health. I realized that my engagement in physical activity was rooted in achievement (e.g. winning an award for taking the most classes) and not so much in my own enjoyment. I was exercising for the sake of exercising, and each phase was short lived.

While we were faced with COVID-19 restrictions, I started to rethink the way physical activity fit into my life. No gyms, no fitness studios, no sports. I know I'm not alone when I say that being stuck inside your house all day can really help you appreciate the outdoors. I started going on lots of walks, simply to escape the four walls of my home office. It turns out that being physically active outside was the only way to see and hang out with friends and family! My best friend and I started doing what we called "Power Hour". Power Hour involved an hour-long power walk through the trails in our neighbourhood. While being physically active was a key aspect of this activity, the most important part was connecting with my friend, ranting about my day, and getting fresh air. We've continued to do this regularly, even since restrictions have been lifted!

I think there's a common misconception that we NEED to carve out a part of our life specifically for physical fitness. For me, living active means finding physical activities that I enjoy and finding ways to incorporate them into my daily life. Need to catch up with a friend? Grab a coffee at Transcend and walk through the trails near Mill Creek Ravine together. Need to restock your toiletries? Ride your bike to the nearest drug store! If there's anything to take away from my Live Active story it's that being physically active doesn't require a sacrifice of your mental health. Find an activity that fits into your life and makes you feel good!