Friday, 8 May 2015

Five (fun!) ways to share a love for running and fitness with your kids

I'm forever grateful to my parents for setting a good example when it comes to living a fit and active lifestyle.  Although they never, ever forced me to join a sports team or put pressure on me to excel in any particular activity, I have so many fantastic memories of the three of us going to the gym together, all bleary eyed and full of jokes at 05:00 a.m.; and of my dad and I attending bootcamp classes and laughing 'till we shook about not being able to do that gazillionth push-up along with the rest of the class.   

Although my own kids are still very young, I love getting out there and being active with them - hopefully I can also pass on to them the love for fitness and activity that my parents gave me?  As they're growing older, though, I'm finding that I need to get very creative to make (and keep!) our active outings fun for everyone - it can be quite a challenge!  Here's what's currently working for us:

1.  Combine stroller running with activities that your kids enjoy.
The older my kids are getting, the more they seem to not want to run just for the sake of running anymore.  The solution?  We run to a nearby playground, play around for a while, and then run back home.  Everybody loves it.

Mid- or post-run playground visits for the win!

2.  Create family running traditions.
We have a few simple traditions associated with our stroller runs that the kids really enjoy.  I always hydrate with coconut water after a run and it's become quite a delight for the kids - they can't wait to finish a run so that they can get some "jogging juice"!  Miss K also loves requesting songs for me to sing (or huff!) during our runs - I have quite the repertoire...

Taking our post-run hydration very seriously.

3.  Run in scenic areas.
I try to take the kids to a game farm just outside of town as often as possible for our stroller runs.  They both love looking out for game and squeal with delight whenever we see ostrich or springbok - much more fun than running around the neighbourhood!   

Nothing like a game farm stroller run!

4.  Make them part of the action.
Miss K (3) is starting to ask to walk or run parts of our stroller runs by herself - and I let her.  She's really excited about wearing her "trainers" for our runs and she loves getting out of the stroller and running for 400 m or so.  (My) serious running can wait until after that, right?

In on the action!

5.  Don't push.
As much as I love running with the kids in the stroller, I never, ever force them.  If they really don't feel like running on a particular day, we do something else instead and I schedule a solo run for later.  

There'll be no runnin' today...

Thanks to the lovely ladies from Eat Pray Run DCYou Signed up for What? and Mar on the Run for the opportunity to share these tips as part of their Friday Five link-up!          


14 comments:

  1. Your little girl's face in this picture is just priceless - love it! The farm that you run in looks amazing; what a nice change of scenery for you and the kids. These are great ideas, Karien; thanks for sharing them and I hope you have a great weekend!

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    1. Thanks so much, Tara! Wishing you a great weekend too!

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  2. Interesting post. I remember I did almost the same with my children: common interests, traditions, beautiful sceneries and fun.

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    1. Glad to hear I'm on the right track, Stefano :) . Have a lovely weekend!

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  3. I don't have any kids but these tips can be used for just about anyone! Great list. Have a nice weekend :)

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    1. Thanks, Courtney! Sunday is my birthday and Mother's Day, so I'm planning on having a really super day!

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  4. 1. Love your blue tights.

    2. Are you not scared the ostrich and springbok will run after you? or are they barricaded?

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    1. Thanks, A! The blue tights were a gift and I love them too! :)

      The ostriches and springbok are not barricaded, no... The springbok are okay, but I had a really funny (in hindsight) ostrich incident one day.. I wrote about it on the blog - under "Close encounters of the feathered kind" if you ever have a spare minute to have a peep :) .

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  5. I love this! I wish my parents had been more active with me, but my mother is incredibly unhealthy and is the exact opposite of a good role model for an active lifestyle. Good thing I figured it out on my own :)

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    1. I can't even begin to tell you how thankful I am for the example that my parents set with regard to being fit and active, Lisa - such a huge gift. So happy that you figured it out on your own, though - high five!! :)

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  6. These are so great! I love how you judge how your kids are feeling about a particular activity, and if they're not enjoying it, you just change activities or find a way to make it more fun. Those runs to the park for some play time sound super fun! :) Hehe jogging juice...love it! Have a wonderful Mother's Day, Karien! <3

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    1. Thanks so much, Hailey - my birthday also falls on Mother's Day this year, so I'm really excited for tomorrow! Poor Will has his work cut out for him ;) . x

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  7. aw, what a great list and way to share running with your family. Your littles adorable!

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    1. Thanks so much, Mar! I think they're pretty darn cute too ;) .

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