Thursday, June 9, 2011

Fit City: Active Vacationing

I'm sharing my thoughts on being an active family and having taken an active family vacation.  Check it out and leave me some comments with ideas, please!


In past years, our vacations have meant doing as little activity as possible.

That’s nearly impossible with the under 6 year old crowd.

My husband and I were so terribly out of shape that spending a day walking around Holiday World or Sesame Place was about as active as we could get.  Thinking of purposefully doing something active felt like a chore and not like something fun.

We recently took a getaway weekend to Kentucky.  We spent 2 days in Louisville and 1 day in Lexington.  We did some laid back things like visiting an art museum and going to a minor league baseball game. 

I left my workout clothes at home and had no intention of getting exercise.  But I ended up with a bit of exercise on most days anyway!

On Friday evening, we hit the pool.  I’m not much of a swimmer but I have a decent slow and easy breast stroke.  I did a few laps while my husband played with the kids and I could feel the burn in my arm muscles.  I did some water exercises while hanging out with the kids where I would stay low in the water and use just my core and upper arm muscles to stay upright. 

On Saturday, we went down to the waterfront.  We went for a walk and found a playground that the kids enjoyed.  Then we spent an hour peddling along the waterfront in a 2 man surrey!  The route included hills and required some serious thigh muscle work from the pedalers (me and my husband).  The entire family had fun as we cruised down hills, did our best to “race” a coal barge on the river, and using the map to decide which route to take.

Saturday afternoon, I took my daughter to the pool (my son was napping upstairs with my husband).  Again, I did laps.  I also played a jumping game with her where we would stand in the shallow end, hold hands, and jump up and down.  I also did some laps all around the pool with her on my back.

Sunday, we spent most of the day on my aunt’s farm.  I have to admit that it was more of a down day for my husband and I because we had the luxury of sitting and talking to family while my strapping younger brothers tied a rope around their waists and hauled my kids around the hills on a large carboard “sled.” 

Monday, we walked over a mile at the zoo.  The difference with this walking and previous summers walking at an amusement park?  We didn’t sit to rest nearly as often.  In fact, we didn’t stop to look at much either.  The day was so hot that there just weren’t very many animals to stop and look at so the only time we really stopped to rest was when we ate lunch and when we discovered the air conditioned underwater observation area for the polar bear. 

It’s all got me wondering what is in my future.  Is this the start of seeking out fun and active things to do on vacation?  Are we going to become one of “those families” that goes on vacation to do crazy active things?  Are we going to seek out nature hikes and white water rafting?  Are we going to do bicycle tours of towns? 

When I look ahead at the rest of our summer and into the fall, I see active things I’ve planned for myself.  On June 18, I’m riding 50K in The Girlfriend Ride in Columbus, OH.  On June 25, I’m running the Fishers Freedom Festival 5K.  Over the summer, I’m training with Team In Training to do my second half marathon in October (The Indianapolis Marathon & Half Marathon).  In September, I’ve got another bike ride planned- The Hope Ride.  I’m planning on doing a 5 mile run at Mallow Run Winery on Oct 1

It seems I need to find more active things for my family to do as well.  I want to find nature hikes and trails we can enjoy.  We recently visited 100 Acres at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and very much enjoyed the interactive art exhibits and also our walk along the nature trail into the woods.

We are working on making our family more bicycle friendly.  We want to be able to ride together as a foursome to various things around our town.  We are trying to decide if a trailer is our best bet or if there are other options we should consider.  We want to be able to ride together to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings or ride together to church on a Sunday or ride to a local eatery for lunch.

I want to find more things that we can do to be active as a family.  For the most part, we have been great at being active in terms of what we offer our kids.  They love to run around on the playground while we sit on a bench and watch or stand close by and watch.  When our daughter played soccer, we stood on the sidelines and watched. 

I did find a program with our local YMCA that would be a 4 week basketball class for our 3 year old and parent participation is required.  I think my son and my husband will have a great time playing basketball together and practicing those skills together. 

What are ways that you get your entire family active and moving?  I need ideas, please!