Strong Together Spring 2015—Week 4 - MetroFamily Magazine
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Strong Together Spring 2015—Week 4

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You've been training for about a month now. How do you feel? This week we asked our bloggers to tell us advice they would have for other people just getting started. Here are their tips:

From Courtney: Thankfully, convincing my husband and daughter to commit to a healthy lifestyle that includes physical exercise and healthy eating is not something that I struggle with at this stage in our lives. My husband is extremely supportive and leads in a way that encourages me to challenge myself physically. And Parker, well, she’s too young to have a choice. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we’re the model family. But we have found what works. Here are my top three tips for getting the whole family involved.

Make it fun. There are so many ways to make being healthy appealing to kids and significant others. In my family, all we have to do is use this special word that starts with a “c” and it’s on! Maybe competition is a buzz word for your family too. Set the goal and the time period. Offer a prize to the winner and judge fairly. A new family tradition is just waiting to be born. 
Incorporate everyone’s preferences. Perhaps no one knows what your family likes best except you. My husband loves to play basketball. Any time. Any place. My daughter enjoys the freedom to explore, climb and slide at Gymboree. Before I started training, I took Parker for regular walks along Lake Hefner. The activity doesn’t matter as much as the participation. Encourage your family to participate in their favorite activities by helping them make time for and taking a sincere interest in them. You’ll earn cool points. You can thank me later.
Try something new together. Use your healthy lifestyle as motivation to try new things with your loved ones. Visit a farmer's market, cook a new dish starring an old favorite vegetable or lean protein or down a frothy wheatgrass shot with them as witnesses. Invite your family to cheer you on along the sidelines of the Redbud Classic, learn to kayak at the boathouse or high-dive into the deep end of the pool.

Remember, instead of being weak alone, we’re Strong Together!

From Mae: We are all very lucky to have the support and strength of the women in the Strong Together program. I think one of the goals of the program is to help us as women find a way to lead healthier lives and to learn how we can make it more of a priority in their individual lives. We all have different schedules, commitments and priorities. But Strong Together is encouraging us to put aside our excuses and just make it happen. One of the toughest parts of exercising is making the time. We have a million excuses to not get out and walk or run. 

On our run last Saturday morning I talked with a couple other moms who are really enjoying running too. We were contemplating what we would be doing if we weren't running. We both agreed that we would be in bed with our kids jumping on us or playing with our hair. Basically we would probably be in bed but it wouldn't be relaxing and we both agreed we felt much better using that time for running. But we all agreed it is still hard to find time during the week to run. 

The solution for me is running with my kids. Involving the whole family in exercise can be loads of fun but it is also more work. On the one hand, I really enjoy running with my kids. We get to spend more time together. They get to see and be a part of my healthier life style which I hope will motivate them to be healthy themselves. On the other hand, I have to load up my double jogging stroller, bundle the kids up when it's cold and it is a ton more work pushing the kids while running. But it is my choice to run with my kids, I love it and it works for me. 

I would just encourage everyone to make time to find what really works for you. I started out running in the early morning before my kids got up. I liked the solitude and quite time to myself but I love the challenge of running with my kids. 

From Kristyn: My tip for anyone just starting to walk or run is find a way to track your progress daily. There are several techy activity trackers on the market (I wear one myself) but you don’t have to spend a thing if you don’t want to. I’ve used two old school tracking systems for a long time and they continue to keep me motivated.

I hung a dry erase calendar behind the door in my bathroom. Each day I write down how I was active. For me, that’s usually a bike ride, yoga class, the elliptical, or a run. When I run, I include the number of miles I ran. Then on days I’m struggling to get out there I can look back at my progress. If I’ve been pretty active all week, I know my body is telling me I need to rest for a day. If I see that I have a string of days without any activity, I know I need to get off my behind and lace up my shoes.

The other way I track my progress is right out of kindergarten. I reward myself with a shiny gold star! So much of my life is tied to my planner. I carry it everywhere I go; it’s my calendar, to do list and journal. So I keep a sheet of shiny metallic star stickers tucked in the back pocket. When I’ve been active, I give myself a shiny star for the day. I may be all grown up but starting the day with a gold star still works for me!

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