By Beth Blair
Updated: March 05, 2015

If there's one thing I've learned since signing on as the Weight Loss Diarist, it's that getting and staying fit and healthy is an ongoing process.

Looking for opportunities to remain active and dodging obstacles for a healthy lifestyle is something that just happens in this quest. Naturally I've gotten into the habit of looking for and choosing the most active options possible every chance I get. In fact, by having this change in mindset, I'm burning more calories, feeling more energetic and, as my life coach Kate Larsen is always reminding me to do, having fun!

Here are a few ways I've jumped at the chance to combine fun and fitness and made the world my playground.

1. Do Stairs in Pairs. This past weekend my family took a trip to Chicago. Like every adventure away from home I was extremely nervous about sticking with my fitness routine. Luckily, the Blackstone Hotel where we stayed has an extensive fitness center with every workout machine imaginable, so I did get some weight-lifting and squats in one day.

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On the last day, knowing I had a seven-hour drive ahead of me, I woke before the family and put on my workout outfit. As I was tying my shoes, my daughter, Maddie (an early riser like me), woke up and asked where I was going. Knowing my husband and son had at least another hour of sleep in them I whispered for her to get dressed with the thought that I would have to adapt my workout to accommodate her. We hit the hotel Starbucks for a cup of java and then did some exploring before arriving at the sixth floor stairwell.

"Are you ready for our workout?" I asked her.

She enthusiastically replied, "Yes!" Up we climbed 17 stories back to our twenty-third floor. Maddie counted backwards with every flight, "Only 10 more stories, mom," she would say with every level, not out of breath at all. I realized then that our new way of life isn't just good for me but also the entire family.

2. Take Smart Steps. During another family road trip in March we threw in a visit to the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh. As we headed to an elevator to go up a level, we noticed a sign outside the stairwell. The History Center and UPMC Health Plan have partnered to create the only museum exhibit inside a stairwell called Smart Steps where visitors are challenged to only take the stairs during their visit. At each level, participants stamp a bookmark-sized paper to prove their dedication. If all six sections are stamped, you get a prize at the end. Naturally, my family jumped at the chance, and along the way, we viewed murals with health information and fun facts about Pittsburgh. But the best part: We won a collectable Heinz pickle pin.

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3. Power Walk Window Shop. On Earth Day, my son's third grade class had the opportunity to release 72,000 ladybugs in the Mall of America's Nickelodeon Universe (the little critters work as a natural pesticide). I signed up to be a meet-at-the-mall chaperone. I arrived early before the bus of kids and hit the mall walking. One loop around the mall totals .57 miles! I might have to go shopping more often…

What do you do to stay active wherever you go? Tell us @Shape_Magazine and @ShapeWLDiary.



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