Last year, while on summer vacation at the beach, I went for a run. This was no different than my typical exercise routine, I just happened to be running outside instead of on a treadmill and my children were at a beach house instead of in school. When I returned from my run, dripping in sweat and absolutely exhausted (and let’s face it, looking forward to an adult beverage while relaxing on the beach), my then six-year-old son approached me to ask if he could run with me. I was exhausted and had zero energy left but I couldn’t resist those blue eyes and eager heart. This was the perfect opportunity to share my love of running with him.
Howie and I ran one very slow mile but it is by far the best mille I have ever completed. During our run, we talked about life, his likes and dislikes, his friends, his family, and more. He asked me a lot of questions about running and exercise and how it affects the body. His eyes had more energy than his legs so when we were finishing out the last quarter of a mille, he was also exhausted but it gave us an opportunity to learn about what its like to dig deep inside you, finish something you never thought possible and then celebrate after. Going on that run with my son is one of the best gifts he has ever given me. I have that run permanently saved in my memory, it’s clear as day and something I love to relive whenever I can.
While that experience was amazing, not every opportunity to exercise with your child has to be this monumental. It’s the simple things that leave lasting impacts on your children. During Exercise With Your Child Week, when we’re encouraged as parents to exercise with our children, I challenge you to take time away from your normal routine and carve out a few minutes (it doesn’t have to be long) to move with your child. Here are some activities my family loves to do together:
- Put on your favorite song and dance a wild and crazy dance
- Chalk drawn hopscotch on the driveway
- Family bike ride (or if you have smaller ones, walk while your child rides their tricycle)
- Family walk (play games as you go like finding items that start with a letter or making up stories about the houses on your street)
- Family game (this can be anything your family enjoys, our summer favorites are kickball, baseball, and throwing a ball)
- Competitions (jump rope, hula hoop, pogo stick, anything!)
- Leap frog
- Hide and Seek
- Walk the dogs
- Run through the sprinkler
The common theme through all of these is making it simple, easy, and doing it together. You can call it exercise or you can call it something else but whatever you do, be sure to talk about how much fun movement can be. With this, you’ll help your children develop a life-long love of exercise.
Today we feature OWG guest blogger and childhood obesity consultant, Melodie Griffin. Melodie’s passion lies in the prevention of childhood obesity through the school and early learning settings. All programs Melodie promotes are fully approved by her home based lab rats, five year old son, Howie, and two year old daughter, Hope. You can connect with Melodie on her Facebook page, WellConnect LLC.