My kids are young. I’m aware of this. But, I don’t think it’s ever too early to start encouraging a healthy focus on fitness. Because of this, we plan a lot of activities around it.
This fall, an injury has kept me out of the races. But, I don’t think this is an excuse to forget about the great events that happen all around us during this season. Instead, we put the focus on others.
Our family, specifically my husband’s side of our family, is made up of athletes. While we’ve all come at it from different angles, and at different times, over the past few years, adventure races, half marathons, marathons and other races and events have become fairly frequent activities. Those that don’t run are involved in other activities, weight training, regular workouts, etc. While this is a healthy area of focus, it’s also something more; it’s a way to become excited about something bigger than ourselves and to motivate and encourage each other, even the 1 and 2 year olds on the sidelines.
While we’ve tried to bring our kids to our events, and they’ve gotten used to watching John and I run, we want to teach them that fitness is something more…that it can be exciting. So, this fall we’ve tried to get to as many activities as possible.
Here’s my oldest with his Uncle Jim after he completed the Hershey Half Marathon in October. While my sister-in-laws and I trekked all over the town to hold up their creative signs (also below), my kids waited with my husband to catch the most exciting part of the race, the finish.
My son was so excited to have been there to watch his uncle complete the race. Does he understand the training that went into it? No. Does he realize how hard that finish was? Definitely not. But, he got to see thousands of people, including some close to him, finish something and to cheer them on with a sense that his excitement was a lot bigger than himself.
Fast forward to this past weekend. Sunday we woke up early to watch sis-in-law’s boyfriend run the Harrisburg Marathon (he beasted it). Once again, he got a taste of the excitement of a solid finish. As the first place runner ran by, my son held up his hand and shrieked with joy as the runner gave him a high five on his way to the finish. Afterward, he turned to me and said “Mommy, one day I will cross a finish line!”
That’s what I want my kids to feel. I don’t care how they pursue fitness and health, whether it’s a team sport, an individual challenge or even a simple, active lifestyle that leaves them open to life’s adventures; I just want them to know that some things are worth reaching for and that healthy living can be a lifelong challenge and adventure. It doesn’t get much better than that.