Monday, May 9, 2011

Phys. Ed for Life

© sonya etchison -
P.E. was actually one of my favorite classes in school.  No, I was never good at sports.  No, I wasn't particularly athletically gifted or talented.  No, I never earned the Presidential Physical Fitness Award (which homeschoolers are now eligible for) and I never made it to the top of the climbing rope in the gym.  But, I had a great time participating in the games and activities.

But, once those days  of mandatory P.E. class were done, I didn't really pursue anything exercise-wise.  Avoiding getting hit with a dodge ball only got me so far in life.

While those times in P.E. class were fun, one of the goals with my own kids is to get them into a lifestyle of activity that doesn't involve a remote.  I am currently trying to encourage them in joining sports and enjoying themselves.  We choose recreational teams just so they can get equal play time and the chance to enjoy a game without pressure (not that I'm against competition or challenge.  But, sports just isn't our family's forte and it can be frustrating to be in sports when there's pressure to win.)  I am also encouraging them to do individual physical activity that interests them. 

Bike riding is currently popular around here.  My 6 year-old just got her training wheels off.  She begs to ride around our little street each day, rain or shine.  I also like to take the kids on hikes.  Nature hikes are fun.  Sometimes I can even come up with a scavenger hunt to do while we're hiking which occupies them while on our walk. 

Running is another activity I have been encouraging.  I have not been so successful in this particular endeavor simply because its only recently been nice enough to go out and run.  This was our first winter in a cold climate in quite a while and I was frustrated to find it difficult to run when there was ice out.  Nothing ruins a great running high like a broken hip.  But, now with Spring in full swing, I think we'll give it another go.

The Couch to 5K program is a great way to get started.  I did this myself, actually.  Though, I did take longer than 9 weeks to build up to a 5K.  Much longer.  But, I did it and was so proud!  I entered a 5K race just to say I did.  The whole last 1/4 mile I was so thrilled to have run the whole way that I was grinning ear to ear.  I'm pretty sure that smile was still on my face when I went to bed that night.  And, it didn't even bother me that my kids cheered by saying, "Hey Mom, you're not LAST!!"

Yay for me!

And yes, I think this is a great way to get kids into running.  Many races now include a kid's category where they can run a shorter distance and still get the thrill and reward of running.  When I ran my 5K, my kids ran  races too (The then 5 year-old ran a 200 yard race and my then 9 year-old ran 1/2 mile.).  They had so much fun!

I hope you do too.


P.S.  And, if you're thinking, "Yeah, but I just can't do it.  I'm not athletic like that."  Poo!  Neither am I!  In fact, before this I had NEVER run a full mile before without having to stop and gasp for air.  And, I'm no spring chicken.  I had to pick a pace that was comfortable to me.  That would be a slow pace.  Very s l o w.  If I can do it, so can you.

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