For many people, being fit becomes a personal challenge, a solo journey, sometimes even something they feel they should be doing alone. Yes, exercise is meditative. There are times when diving into the pool is the best medicine in the world for my body, mind, and spirit. However, I believe activity, sport, and fitness are often best in a community. We live in a time when people seem to be always running to the next thing, looking at their phones, never paying attention to the people around them or exercising. Getting active means becoming more in line and in touch with our body and mind. Making it fun is the key to staying consistently active and, therefore, seeing great results in our health—and there’s no better way to do this than with those we love.
Being active started with my family. From the day my sister and I were born, my parents took us everywhere. My mom often tells the story of when she put my six-week-old sister in a backpack to go cross-country skiing in freezing temperatures in the heart of Wisconsin’s winter. Sitting around the house and lounging were never part of our routine. We were always active, and we did things together: hiking, swimming, sailing, biking, skiing, snorkeling, tennis, and golf. Enjoying activity was a mainstay in our family, keeping us together, fit, and outside in nature, where we got our body (and those endorphins) moving.
As I matured into competitive swimming, my schedule at the pool became more frequent and rigorous. I began going to weekday workouts in the morning (two-three times per week) and afternoon (every day), and Saturday workouts, too. If you’re a parent, this schedule could be a nightmare or something you even enjoy; my parents used my workout times as a way to be active themselves. My dad, who often took us to those morning workouts, started swimming laps then. If he wasn’t swimming, he was lifting weights, stretching, or doing core work. My mom often walked, ran, and even took classes at the local YMCA while my sister and I worked out with the swim team in the afternoon. Now, as an adult, I constantly see parents at the University of Texas walking the perimeter of the stands, going for jogs during their kids’ practices, and even participating in small workout groups with other like-minded team parents. It’s a great idea: Your kid’s requirement for being at practice keeps you accountable for your own physical activity.
My parents always led by example—from what they ate to how they took care of their body to how active they were. Kids notice what those around them are doing and I am a firm believer that parents, coaches, teachers, and family members are largely responsible for the health of our youth. A family unit is the first and best place to make physical activity a lifetime routine that can keep us all on the road to good health.
Here are a few of my favorite activities I did with my family:
Don’t forget to properly fuel those active family excursions with healthy food. Here are some of Weber-Gale’s favorite snacks that are kid-friendly and easy to eat on the go.
Read the rest of the list on the AtleticFoodie site here