"Sweaty! Sweaty! Half the fun of exercise is [beat] getting sweaty!"
(Just make up a tune and go with it—that's what we do.)
I am one of those people who is intolerable if I don't exercise. Without exercise, I get antsy, snappish, and grumpy. My knees start to ache dreadfully—like they are rusty and creaky from inactivity. I lose patience with everyone and everything. It's a bad scene, as Marc can tell you. The only cure is a workout.
When Wyatt is in school, I lift weights at the gym a couple of times a week, and the other days, I do a workout at home (on a suspension trainer, with a heavy kettlebell, or on a pull-up bar in the garage), or run stair intervals outside, or hike the steep inclines around San Francisco. But summer is different. There are more full days of "together time," and call me crazy, but I don't always relish getting up two hours earlier to fit in a workout on my own before settling in for a full day of mothering.
More than that, I feel like I shouldn't have to compartmentalize every day that way. Kids are active, and there's every reason to integrate fitness with everyday life. Of course it's not always possible to get a good workout with a young child around, and a lot of times, if I'm honest, I'd rather it be MY time than together time. But ever since Wyatt was a baby, I've exercised a day or two a week with him: walking with him in a front carrier, pushing him up hills in the jogging stroller, hiking hills with him in the frame backpack, doing calisthenics while he played on the floor, and most recently, teaching him a little circuit at home so I could do one myself.* Despite all of these activities, though, I think the whole concept of fitness only clicked for him after the Saturday morning I took him with me to a personal training session (Marc was deathly ill and couldn't look after him). Ever since that morning, Wyatt has been very interested in exercise and being strong enough to lift very heavy things all by himself.
The other weekend, Wyatt asked me, "When can we go back to the exercise course?" He meant the Perrier Parcourse at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park. We had tried it a couple of times last year, but he wasn't yet old enough to (a) make it around without being carried part of the way or (b) let me do my reps while he waited. Frustration ensued for both of us, so I gave it a rest. But after he asked about it, I figured it was worth another attempt. Good thing we tried again, because this may be the Summer of the Perrier Parcourse. We went twice last week and we both found exercises we want to work on (for me the vault; for him, the hand walk).
Notice the oversized running water bottle Wyatt is wearing. You know how new workout gear can make you want to get to the gym or go for a run? Same is true for the 5 year-old set, only in this case, I just had to loan him my old training gear. He loves it, and I love not having to schlep his water.
It's tough to beat a fitness trail. We get to be outside (and as loud and silly as we want), go at our own pace, work as hard as we want separately, work together, count, race, find flowers, climb log piles, goof around, and get stronger. It's basically playing in the park, but with a little bit of structure and some goals.
It's so much fun. You want to try it, too, don't you? A list of Fitness Trails throughout the world is here. If you find another list, or another trail, please leave it in the comments!
*All of these ideas, the progression of them, and my ability to do any of them, are thanks to my inimitable trainer, Doug Norris.