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.
Parents, we want to hear how you make fitness fun for the whole family. Share your tips and tricks below.