Be Fit For Life

with Ellen Cohen-Kaplan

Resolutions for the New Year? Not what you may think!

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desert mountain biking in ScottsdaleGrand Canyon near sundownMule train in the Grand Canyon1227_Arizona December 2013_32321228_Arizona December 2013_3068view of Bell Rock from our room in SedonaSedona's perfect weatherDana crawling along a narrow ridge

rock climbing with less than perfect form

rock climbing with less than perfect form

I just returned from a breathtaking vacation in Arizona with my family. The pictures say it all about the beauty of the surroundings, but I also like to take something deeper home from my vacations. Each experience changes you, and this one was up there for new sensations. We mountain biked through a large reserve of desert trails, and although my 3 boys (now 17, 19 and 21) thought it was great fun, they didn’t find it the least bit scary. My husband Jeff and I found it exhilarating, and a bit scary.  There are plenty of pits, dips and curves in the sand and gravel that define desert trail biking that we asked our guide if we could please classify it as mountain biking, and as the second half of our day became more challenging, with a few more rises and falls he said we could- we were thrilled! Why should that make such a difference? Because it’s a great feeling to know that as we’re getting older, we’re still up for new experiences, and yet-to-be-done activities, even if they involve some risk. The second exhilarating and again, a bit scary experience we had was doing some rock climbing along up some challenging red rock formations that typify Sedona. Many had quite a vertical rise for comparatively little distance (translated steep!) At one point, one son was in front pulling me up, while Jeff was providing a stable surface to push against with my foot. That was not a proud moment, but when I saw a little girl and her father staring at me with funny looks on their faces, I found the energy to pull myself up and continue tromping up the mountain!

So, in summary,- resolutions for the new year? Always find at least a few new activities, events, experiences to go for that are out of your comfort zone, without incurring too much risk. The calculation of risk can be the tricky part- at times I thought I was pushing it too much, but after a safe and successful week of hiking and biking, our family emerged basically intact (cuts and bruises notwithstanding) so we figured we made reasonable decisions. There’s always a daredevil in the group, as one of the pictures of Dana represents. My son Josh was the sturdy sherpa and mountie who made sure Jeff and I managed whatever we were trying, and Jordan served as the logistics expert about heights, distances, weather and times spent in our activity.

Now, on to resolutions:

Embrace new experiences, especially exhilarating ones

Value each group member for his/her unique contribution

Enjoy time together with family or loved ones

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Use the strength, endurance and cardio capacity you have acquired through exercise on new activities that make exercise a means to an exciting end.

Here’s to a happy, healthy productive new year and to making whatever you want to happen, happen !

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