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Go. Do. Live...Play

By Jinnie Austin |

Go. Do. Live...Play


I have a confession. As soon as my son was able to be pushed in a jogging stroller, I slipped on my socks, laced up my shoes, and away we went. It was probably earlier than what was recommended and sometimes even at the crack of dawn because I was obsessed with making sure that we were going to be an active family. Maybe it was because it was the only thing I could control at the time or maybe because everyone told us that EVERYTHING would change once we had a baby.
 
Fast forward seven years, and indeed everything in my life has changed, including my priorities on exercise. My husband, son, and I are still active, but the ways we stay active have changed. Mileage matters less and less these days, and speed workouts have become us trying to keep up while my son bikes alongside us on the greenway.
 
Staying active as a family has its challenges. Some days it’s easier to turn on the tv or iPad and let them zone out while I get in a quick treadmill workout. But the days that stand out are the ones where I see my son thriving on our outdoor adventures! The three-mile bike ride where he didn’t have to stop and push his bike up the hill, the hike where he didn’t complain once, and the nights where he insists on a family walk around the neighborhood. These seem like small triumphs, but they are major wins in parenting. While those wins are sometimes few and far between, it makes me feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, to show him how strong he can be with a healthy active lifestyle.
 
I am by no means an expert in child-rearing, and I am not a pediatrician, but here are a few ways we have fun staying active together as a family:
 
Playground Relay: Find a route that includes multiple playgrounds or points of interest (bonus points for splash-pads). Run from one playground to the next. Run a little faster than normal between stops to get in a nice little tempo workout. Relays were a staple in the early days when we were putting heavy mileage on our BOB Revolution Stroller, but it also works when they’re on a bike.

Ride and Run: A ride and run is just like it sounds, they ride their bikes, and you run. The secret to ride and runs (and really life in general) is low expectations. You are never going to be able to run as fast or slow as you want on that particular day. Your kid is going to stop to itch their face a dozen times, suddenly take an interest in bugs or plants that they’ve never been interested in before, or kick it into high gear when you just want to take it easy. The key is that you’re outside, moving, and together.

Hiking: We started my son off in a Deuter Hiking pack, which was a great investment, he would sleep, and we would hike in silence. We graduated to longer hikes where he would want to get down and explore. On the days he was whiny we’d play “who-can-find-the-next-trail-marker,” “I-spy,” or just makeup stories until we got back to the car.

Daily Walk: We take a half-mile walk after dinner. Sometimes we talk about our day, have informal scavenger hunts, or we just try to get through it without any tears.

Dance Parties: On really rough days, when things are particularly hard, we have dance parties. We crank up the best dance tracks we can think of and move in all the silliest ways possible. This is movement, and movement is a great way to get through bad days and bad moods.

For us, it was important not to push him towards any single activity or sport, although we hope he eventually finds the joy we do in running. This summer he took up tennis and was so proud when I presented him with his very own pair of Feetures. We’ve recently realized that Feetures size small is a perfect fit for youth sizes 1-5. He’s excited to have this key piece of gear that helps keep his little feet cool, comfortable, and blister-free.
Parents, we want to hear how you make fitness fun for the whole family. Share your tips and tricks below.

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