I like to Move it, Move it: Involving Kids in Fitness

Jenny and one of her kids after a Color Run!

Jenny and one of her kids after a Color Run!

A big thanks to Jenny Hodges from Metamorfit.org for writing this fit mom featured guest blog. Jenny has an extremely inspiring story and has been featured on the NBC Today Show and Rachel Ray. Follow Jenny on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIN, and Instagram (@metamorfit).

I struggled with being an overweight teenager, young adult and adult. By the time I was 37 years old I weighed 369 pounds and I had three young children. Becoming a mother totally changes your perspective not only on your past, but on the life you want to live with and for your children. In reflecting upon my past, I realized that I was never physically active WITH my parents. Sure, there were short periods of time where my father jogged and I have memories of riding my big-wheel alongside him, but for the most part, we were more of a TV watching, video game playing family. That is how we bonded, how we connected as a family unit.

When I began my lifestyle change in 2007 I knew that I wanted something different for my kids than what I had grown up with. I wanted to be active WITH my kids, but they were young when I started exercising at only 2, 3, and 4 years of age so I had to be cautious and take baby-steps with them, which worked out really well because in all honesty, I was a newbie to the exercise life-style.

Generally I did my “me workout” in the morning hours at the gym, and then every evening we would do something together as a family; a walk around the neighborhood, a family swim at our clubhouse pool, or a walk to the playground. As the kids got older, and as I got fitter, our active lifestyle progressed and we worked together to make family fitness goals. By the time my kids were 4, 5, and 6, so only 2 years after we began this lifestyle, they could all ride their bikes without training wheels, and they were all capable of wogging (walk/jog) a 5K. But this didn’t happen overnight. Again, we worked our way up to this by incorporating daily fitness into our lives.

Jenny and her 3 kids in the pants she used to wear.

Jenny and her 3 kids in the pants she used to wear.

My kids are now 6, 7 and 8. We routinely engage in 15 mile bike rides, 5K runs. My kids are involved in gymnastics, swimming, and ride their bikes every single day.

I bring my kids to as many races as I can. They’ve seen me cross the finish line at ½ marathons, triathlons, and a variety of other race distances. We as parents need to model for our children how fitness can be fun, exciting, and by doing that we can set up a lifetime of good habits.

Jenny’s 5 Favorite Active Way to be with your child:

1. ZOMBIE! My kids are obsessed with the idea of Zombies, so we play Zombie. It’s a fun twist on tag where one of us is the Zombie and we chase after the others!

2. Scavenger Hunts! I make up lists and we go on walks throughout the neighborhood looking for the items on our check-lists!

3. DANCE!! We’ll have a dance party inside with the Wii Just Dance game series or I’ll put on the iPod and we’ll dance around the house! Either way it’s a good time!!

4. Swimming. Living in Florida we do have the luxury of swimming for a majority of the year. Last year we went swimming on Christmas! We have races in the pool and that really gets our heart rate up!

5. Running. Every year our family does a mandatory 5K TOGETHER! It’s usually a fun run of some sort, no pressure, just out having fun. This year it was supposed to be the Color Run (but we had two sick kids, so dad stayed with them and I did the race with my middle child), last year it was the Flapjack 5K (free pancakes after the race!!), previously it was the Gasparialla 5K complete with pirates and beads! I think our 2013 Family Race will come earlier in the year since 2/3 of our family missed it in 2012!

So there you have it! Have fun and be fit with your family. The 3 F words 😉

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