“Fitness, Family Style,” Ensign, Mar. 1996, 63
As a busy mother with young children, I face many challenges in finding time and energy to exercise daily, but a strong desire to stay physically fit, coupled with a love of the outdoors, has inspired me to be creative in finding ways to do it.
Daily workouts fulfill a need I have to get away by myself, sort out my feelings, and plan my day. If I can organize myself and get enough sleep, I find it works best to rise at an early hour with my husband. While he gets ready for work and the children begin to stir, I head out for an early-morning walk. I’m back in time for breakfast and family prayer before my husband leaves for work. Exercising helps me to start my day with more energy and patience.
When we have problems to discuss, my husband and I like to walk together. Often we go to our neighborhood elementary school early in the morning or late in the evening. Sometimes we include the children, who enjoy playing on the school playground.
The children like to join us in other activities also. We have found several short hikes the entire family can manage. When we reach our turnaround point, we pull snacks out of a backpack for a healthful treat. We have also used bicycles to do the same thing and have found several routes we enjoy exploring.
When weather won’t permit outdoor activity, we occasionally devote a family home evening to doing exercises and taking agility tests. We’ve even held our own living room field day, competing in the standing long jump, the high jump, and even the discus and shot put (using soft items).
I find that when our family participates in physical activity, we enjoy greater teamwork, have more fun together, participate in more meaningful conversations, and experience greater harmony. With determination and creativity, most families can enjoy staying physically fit—family style.—Kristy Sawtelle, Phoenix, Arizona