From Granola to Grandma: Sharing an Active Lifestyle with Your Family

Local outdoors woman takes on the hurdles of life while keeping an active lifestyle and including her whole family in the process.
Julie Sinningston
Julie at river. Northern California. Date unknown. Photo by Julie Sinningston.

Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” While Tzu may have had a deeper meaning in mind, Julie Sinningston took his words maybe a little too literally. What started out as an “Ok! Just this one hike” turned into a lifelong passion for nature and many outdoor activities.

Julie is a 47-year-old Northern California native with three kids and her first grandchild on the way, so keeping her active lifestyle is a “must” to make sure she is “healthy and ready to run around with the grandbaby” when the time comes. She says, “everything I do is for the benefit of my family, and nothing is going to come in the way of being here for as many years as possible.”

When asked her favorite hobby, Julie finds it hard to narrow it down to just one. From hiking to biking and from kayaking to swimming, her absolute favorite outdoor activity “has to be gold panning.” Taking her family to some of the many waterways in the area, Julie says the best gold panning is done at the Feather River in Butte County. “With three kids, it’s hard to find something everyone loves, but gold panning is fun for the whole family.” Although her findings may not amount to riches, she has no plan of stopping anytime soon.

What would you say are your top 3 favorite outdoor activities to do with your family?           “My top three favorite outdoor activities would probably have to be hiking, gold panning, and bocci ball, but looking for gold has to be my favorite.”

What energizes you to keep getting out into nature?
“I’d have to say the fact that life is too short. When my husband suddenly passed away and I went through two different types of cancer, I realized that life is way too short to not be out doing what I love and staying healthy in the process.”

What do you eat before a day of outdoor activity?
“A couple of my favorite pre-exercise snacks are probably either beef jerky or a banana. I also try to only hydrate myself with water.”

Butte County offers a wide variety of outdoor activities and places to get active like hiking at Bidwell Park, kayaking in the Sacramento River, or playing sports like soccer and baseball in DeGarmo Park.

The physical benefits to staying active outdoors are not scarce. From reducing your blood pressure to increasing your cardiovascular function, getting outside is overall a great way to keep your health in check.

Not only is getting active outdoors great for your physical health but there are many other benefits to simply being outside. Even if you aren’t doing an intensive workout, sunlight supplies great benefits like boosting your serotonin levels, also known as the “happiness hormone,” strengthens your bones, and supplies your body with much needed vitamin D.

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