When I was Jack's age, the internet was just starting to become available. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame, and it was about ten years before I saw daylight again. We had also just moved to the sweaty, sticky south and you couldn't pay me to get out in that melting vapor. Naturally, this makes me want to torture my kids with all the stuff I missed out on.
I figure the internet will be there when they get back, right?
In 2009, I saw a picture of myself. It had been about a year since the youngest was born, and I pretttty much wanted to gouge out my eyes with what I saw. For no reason other than there was an app available for my iPhone, I decided to complete the Couch to 5K program. That year, I trained for and ran my first 5K and was so IMMENSELY proud of myself.
As Tony grew, he saw me constantly running or going to an exercise class. As he learns about the human body - and y'all, he's four, so when I say "learn about the human body", I mean things like "don't shove raisins up your nose" - he's starting to want in on that action. He wants to "run like Momma". He wants "strong muskles". And I'm totally good with that.
Jack has always been involved with sports, and until a couple of years ago, he literally played one sport a season and they even often overlapped. As he's honed his skills, he's concentrated lately on basketball and football. This last year, he decided football was not a whole lot of fun as he watched his teammates grow up and around him and he feared for his life every play of every game. Not exactly fun.
So I try and find little ways to trick the boys into getting some exercise in, because I never got that growing up. While I figure they may silently hate me for it, I notice a good bit of belly laughs and smiles while the activity is happening.
Some of our favorites:
Take the dog to the local lake for swimming. Now, um, that lake is NASTY, so we don't get in it. But the dog? LOVES IT. We adopted Belle, our chocolate lab, last summer and I've so loved showing the boys my favorite part of the labrador breed. The boys get a couple of miles walking in and .. well, frankly, it's exhausting for ANYONE to have to wrangle a lab puppy who's sopping wet.
Local events with bouncy houses. Have y'all BEEN in one of those things lately? Dude, they're MURDER on your calves! You must burn - at LEAST - ELEVENTY FRILLION calories in those things. But boys never notice that they're exercising in those things because they tap into the natural Evil Kinevil within them all. Even the biggest boy - about to turn 40 - will spend awhile in there. Bonus points for sweaty, tuckered-out boys when we leave.
Fun Runs. Locally run 5Ks often feature a one-mile, untimed "fun run" that's specifically geared toward families. The boys always love finishing a race - they don't always love RUNNING it - and I can usually coach them through one mile. Most recently, we all went to particpate in Atlanta's The Color Run, which was TOTALLY awesome. Only Jack and I completed it (Tony doesn't like "getting dirty", so one splash of color sent him into fits), but we had a blast and got in TONS of steps.
I know that, as they get older, it will be more and more difficult to persuade them to get outside. I know that I'll be struggling to pry them away from some newfangled technological device that will confound me as I rock on my front porch and scream at the neighbor's ungrateful kids to keep off of my lawn. But for now? I love getting them out there and watching them sweat as a family.
What's your favorite physical activity to do as a family?