Time, time, time. Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, it is often hard to find time for fitness. No matter how hard it is to find the time, there is no doubt how important it is to carve out a place for activity in our lives.
My mother has been a great example for me. When I was very young she was "healthy", but she wasn't active and didn't work out or participate in a fitness program of any sort. Then, I remember one day, being in junior high and watching her start running around our backyard. At the time, I didn't think much of it. As kids we were involved in sports and always outside playing baseball, kickball etc. As I look back, I now see exactly what she was doing and I'm so very proud of her and grateful for her example.
My mother was a stay at home mom in the 70's and 80's and dedicated her entire life to raising me and my brother. She had gained weight and was trying to get in shape. She wasn't comfortable running out on the road yet so she worked her way up by running laps around our backyard, and eventually she hit the road. She then joined an athletic club and ultimately became an aerobics instructor! I can remember running road races with her when I was in high school, and it is amazing to me now to look back and remember that she started out by running laps around the backyard. This is a great example of how to get started if you are not already active.
You may be interested to know that my mother is perhaps the most active 60 year old you'll ever meet. She wakes up early every morning and road bikes with a bike club, she then heads to tennis where she is a ranked player in the Senior Division. She often ends her day with a run. On the weekends she crews on a sailing team and, let me brag on her a bit more, has been the Southwest Florida Ladies Day Helmsman of the Year for four years running. The only thing missing that would make this the dream life for me is winter snowboarding!!
Our children learn good and bad habits from us. If you aren't yet active, take a few moments and think of the ways that you can start.
Involving your children in activity is a great way to get started and to spend quality time modeling a healthy and fit lifestyle. Here are a few warm weather ideas that are fun for the whole family. I challenge you to take time this summer to find some new activities that your family will enjoy.
Hiking - Google hikes in your local area to see what trails or hikes are suitable for families. Many sources will even grade the difficulty of a hike.
Geocaching - Geocaching is a high tech treasure hunting game that people all over the world play using GPS devices. Visit geocaching.com for more information and stay tuned for a more detailed article on this topic soon!
Bike Riding - All kids love to ride bikes. I live in the city and we have many paths that are designated just for bike riding. My three year old rides in a seat on the back of my bike while my 9 and 6 year olds speed ahead. There are all kinds of contraptions for riding with small babies or children. You can often find great deals at yardsales or a used sporting goods store like Play It Again Sports. On days that I am not able to get to the gym I will often get a good run in by jogging along with my kids as they ride their bikes or scooters.
Walking/Jogging - Whether you have babies or tweens on up, walking is not only a great activity for fitness but I find that I have had the most amazingly open conversations with my sons while out walking. We walk to school and the park and often just take a short walk after dinner. My 9 year-old will often ask to come running with me. When we first started running together we moved slow but now that he is growing so tall I find that I'm getting a pretty decent workout when I'm with him!
Play Ball - Grab a ball, any ball, and head outside! Your kids will get a kick out of watching you and as they get older they'll even get a little laugh, and every laugh helps to build a bond and memories that will stay with them forever. I like to play basketball with my boys and since I'm 5' tall and they are growing fast, I'm getting quite a run around at times Soccer with my sons is a major workout, those boys move fast!
Swinging - If you have younger children that still want you to push them on a swing you can turn it into a workout. There is a fun game I play with my daughter. She calls it "Freeze Underdog". I push her in the swing and run under the swing yelling "underdog", back and forth. Every now and then I surprise her by holding her up in the air and yelling "freeze", I tease her by pushing her up and down (working my arms!) and then let her go... and then resume. Trust me there have been many calories burned this way!
What are some ways that you are modeling a fit and healthy lifestyle? Are there areas you could improve? Share your ideas with our readers!