The New Year always reminds me of everybody’s resolution to “get in shape”, as vague as that may be. About 10 years ago I belonged to a gym that was just over a half mile from where I lived. It was also on my way home from work and I had all the time in the world (read: no kids). Yet, it was still hard for me to make it there to work out consistently for more than a month at a time.
I bought a 20-punch pass to my community rec center about 5 years ago, maybe 6, and I still have a few punches left. It’s even closer than my previous gym at only a third of a mile from my front door. “But it’s uphill”, says my brain’s laziness lobbyist.
So you can see it took me a long time, but a few years ago I finally figured out that I’m not going to exercise regularly if my exercise occurs primarily in a gym. It’s just not going to happen. I know that if I want to keep from getting soft I need to be able to exercise right where I’m at. That’s when I started doing push-ups and sit-ups in my living room before work. It’s evolved to a little more than that, and in the warmer months I will add in running or cycling. Now this routine isn’t going to bulk me up into “Meathead Rob Lowe”, bro, but it does get my blood pumping in the mornings, and keeps my body stronger and feeling healthier.
Even after some time I still have my ups and downs, my good months and bad months. But for the most part I’m much more consistent with my exercises when I do them at home. Because of this, about a year ago something unexpected happened. I discovered that my kids were watching. By doing my exercises at home, or getting my gear on and starting my running from the front door, I was having an impact on my kids.
My 6-year-old daughter has been especially interested as of late, and it might have started because I occasionally will let her jump on my back while I am doing my squats. What’s ironic is that she is actually becoming an advocate for my fitness. Recently I downloaded an app to try out on my phone that runs you through 13 different exercises in 7 minutes (aptly named “7 Minute Workout”), and requires no home gym equipment. It involves a few of the exercises I already do, but it works great for the mornings where I’m crunched for time, but still want to get something in to keep the habit going. I display it on my TV while I’m doing it and now my daughter likes to join in. If I’m doing my push-ups or ab workout when she comes downstairs in the mornings she’ll eagerly ask me if I’m going to do the 7-minute exercises. If she didn’t see me work out in the morning she’ll even remind me when I get home from work if I haven’t done any exercises and ask if we can do the “7”. How can I say no to that?
What do you want your kids or coworkers to emulate from you? Are your good habits visible to them? If not, find a way to make them so, and you may be surprised at how they will motivate you to keep it up. Because somebody’s watching you.
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