How Do You Spell Torture for My Family? E-x-e-r-c-i-s-e!

Exercise, mother

I am not a lot of things, but at the top of that list, I am certainly, definitely, absolutely not anybody’s gym bunny. If I have a free hour, I can fire off at least 30 things I’d rather be doing than strapping on some sneakers and sweatpants and huffing and puffing for X amount of minutes. Working out is not fun for me.

I envy the little lithe joggers I see sprinting around the city in their cute sports bras and leggings. Not I, said the brown cow. (Well, not literally but if I keep up with this aversion, maybe.)

The only way I could ever envision myself running at that level of intensity is if a rapid dog was nipping at my heels or there was a free stiletto giveaway at Macy’s or Nordstrom. But in an effort to set a good health standard for the family and a better fitness example for The Girl, I force myself to do it. You know… that ‘e’ word. 


I want working out to be something we do together, but I also want it to be a regular part of her lifestyle as she grows into a young woman. I was chunky as a kid and I’m so very, very thankful that she doesn’t have that problem. Still, I don’t want exercise to be purely preventative, a mechanism to keep her from bloating and getting big (even though, let’s face it, that’s the biggest draw). I also want her to appreciate it for the good things it does for her holistic health: mind, spirit, and body.

Much as I have to ra-ra myself into doing it, I do feel better physically after I go to a zumba class or stretch my way through an hour and fifteen minutes of yoga. I feel like I accomplished something. So when The Girl expressed an interest in going with me, it was a great opportunity for us to build fitness into our regular routine as a family. She’s a dancer — modern, tap, hip-hop, liturgical — and it’s amazing for her body because she loves doing it. Going to the gym is the icing on the cake. (Mmmm cake…)

So here’s to the monthly membership that keeps my caboose in gear. I’m a class person — I could never, ever just hop on a treadmill and stay on there for the amount of time required to get in a legitimate workout because I get so bored so very, very fast. Kickboxing and zumba and yoga and boot camp keeps me competitive, which keeps me pushing forward even when I get tired and my body is telling me to sit down somewhere and read a book. I figure if the old lady and the skinny chick on either side of me can make it through, so the heck can I.

But it’s also a good thing for The Girl to see. Now she asks to go with me whenever I launch myself off the floor or the sofa to get ready for my obligatory hour and change of physical activity. I hope she follows my lead and keeps running with it. Literally.

How do you make exercise fun for your family?

Image via raymon.atienza/Flickr

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