I realized this weekend that the saying "home is where the heart is" holds true for me. These past few days also confirmed for me that a healthy heart is more than just a physically fit heart. It is one that is filled with content, validation, appreciation, and love.
What prompted these insights? We are visiting my parents who are "snow-birding" in St. Augustine, Florida. I have never been to the condominium unit that they are renting; nor have I ever been to St. Augustine. Yet, I feel like I have come home. My parents' bikes are parked in the entrance way. I am reminded of the family bike rides we took when I was a child.
Much of our family time growing up was oriented around some type of physical activity. Whether it was a family hike, a cross-country skiing trip or a day of swimming we did it as a family. Strong family bonds and great memories were created from these adventures that have carried over into my adulthood.
I am a strong believer that the steps toward a healthy heart start with family-oriented fitness. I attribute my own journey toward better health and fitness to the healthy habits my parents instilled in me as a child. I hope to pass this example on to my children.
An important component to make family fitness successful is to create an exercise experience that provides physical activity without you or your child thinking about it as getting exercise. In our celebration of "World Day for Physical Activity" today we did just that. After the adults engaged in their own exercise sessions this morning, we took the kids for a walk along the beach. As we walked, the kids were focused on collecting shells and running into the waves. Exercise was the last thing on their minds, yet they were getting it. Their memory of this event will be "Do you remember when we visited Grandma and Grandpa and collected shells on the beach?" - not the 45 minute walk on which their search took them.
I admire my parents for the lessons that they have taught me during our family fitness time. I am in awe that their own personal journeys toward better fitness have led them to good health and the ability to take walks, play, and go for a swim with their grandchildren. My hope, as my children embark on their own journeys toward better fitness and health, is for them to develop a sense that no matter the location of the heart they are always at home, especially with a healthy heart.
Labels: "World Day for Physical Activity", exercise, family fitness, Florida, St. Augustine