Jingle Bell 5K in Wausau on Dec. 8 / Submitted photo
Working in the health field as a health promotion wellness specialist, I hear many excuses about not having time to exercise and eat healthy. Most of these obstacles stem from being too busy running kids from activity to activity to exercise and have fun. We can ask ourselves, have we become too busy as a society training our kids to be the next big athletic star that we have forgotten the fun of simply playing? As a family, we have tried to incorporate movement and physical activity as part of our everyday routine. So how can you fit it all in?
Our family is simply an ordinary family who likes to laugh and have fun. We look for ways to encourage our kids to be active without making it seem like a chore. Though the activities have changed over the years as our children have grown up, the focus has not. When the kids were little, we loved to go for walks to the park to run around and be silly. We loved to take adventure walks with brown bags in hand to collect our treasures along the way.
As the kids have grown, weíve attempted to keep up with them by playing their sports with them. I have to admit, my son is much better at baseball than I could ever be and I donít make a very good pitcher, but we have a great time. If we do sit down to watch a television show, we have power breaks during the commercials. This involves a fun, but competitive burst of tackle football. The girls have gotten quite good at learning football plays. We also love to put on some loud music and have dance parties in the living room.
We have taken to running races this past year. While I was training for a marathon, my family wanted to be supportive so they started running with me on some of the shorter training runs and even did a 5K with me. All of us ran in the Jingle Bell 5K on Dec. 8, which was so fun to do all together.
Isnít that what itís all about? Bringing your family together by accomplishing something new and supporting each other along the way. We see many families out there doing the same thing and it is so great to see!
So often we put our kids in sports and forget to take care of ourselves as the parents, rationalizing that we are just the sideline parent there to cheer them on. It is for the whole familyís benefit that we all get up and get active. It allows us as parents to be a good role model for our kids, and it keeps us all active and healthy.
When itís time for us as parents to exercise after a long busy day of work and sports, we head to the basement where we do our family workouts. We turn the Nike Training Club on the iPod and the whole family runs around, lifts weights and even makes up some new moves.
By no means do we have it all figured out, but my best advice is to have fun and let your inner child run loose!
Tara Marciniak, 35, of Wausau is a mother of three, Elizabeth, Ean and Elexa.