Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle – for both adults and kids. Inactive kids become inactive adults, who then develop a high risk for coronary artery disease and the like. As adults we need to set a good example by being physically active ourselves and providing plenty of opportunities for our kids to get exercise as well.
My oldest son, Michael, is a rising first grader. Tall and skinny, he’s still learning how to control his body and is therefore a little awkward when it comes to sports. At this age a lot of parents are signing their kids up for team sports such as soccer. My son showed no interest this year and I wasn’t about to force him. But I did want him to be physically active.
We started Michael in swimming classes when he was four, mostly because he really wanted to do it. Michael loves fish. In fact, I would describe it as a borderline obsession. He took to swimming right away and still loves it. But I wanted to find something else he could do that he would enjoy and I thought track might appeal to him.
I asked a colleague, who also has two sons, how his boys got involved in track. He told me about Peachtree City Running Club’s Summer Track Series held at Riley Field (next to Peachtree City Elementary School) on Tuesday nights. The weekly meets are free and open to runners of all ages and all abilities. He said it was a good way find out if he really liked running before spending money on joining a league.
When my husband asked Michael if he would like to run in a race, he shouted, “Yeah!” What surprised us though, was that our four year old, Liam, wanted to run too. “Me too! Me too!”
Both boys ran the 50 yard dash in separate heats based on their ages. Whoever came up with the idea of having a cooler full of popsicles waiting at the finish line is a genius. The kids ran straight to the popsicles, no crying about who won or lost. My boys loved it!
Michael also ran the 100 meter the first week and the 200 meter the second week – and he’s getting better. He now understands the concept of staying in your lane. He actually finished third in the 200 this week, as opposed to last in the 100 the previous week.
But who really cares? He is doing his best, getting exercise and having fun. That’s all I can ask for. Liam asked me on the way home, “Mommy did I lose?” I told him, “No. As long as you finish the race, you win.”