I recently interviewed a woman who offers fitness classes for parents and family. The classes are structured such that they are appropriate for children but still rigorous for adults. The interview reminded me of the many times as a child that I rode my bike with my dad for several miles as he jogged. As I grew older, I became more interested in running. I joined the track and cross-country teams in high school, and my dad and I would run together frequently. A decade later, I am still running every day. I love running and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
Using exercise as an opportunity to bond with your children – and introducing it to them as something that’s fun, rather than as a chore to be completed – is an invaluable gift. I know running has benefited my health in many ways, and it has always come naturally to me. Running has been a part of my daily routine since I was 13 years old, so it does not feel like a struggle for me to find time for it. In fact, on the occasional days when I can’t run, I feel like I’ve skipped an important part of my routine – like I’ve left the house without brushing my teeth or putting on my shoes.
I feel very lucky that I was introduced to running at such an early age. Because I’ve been active from a young age, exercise is something I’ve always been used to. I’ve never felt like I’ve had to learn to become active, nor have I ever felt like I had to make an effort to maintain my running routine. I don’t attribute this to any great work ethic or willpower on my part. I attribute it to my dad’s efforts to introduce me to an active lifestyle. And that is one of the best gifts any parents can give their children.