Sunday, August 30, 2009

What's Your Story?

This weekend, at the Cape with my family, I noticed how everyone in my family makes it a priority to work out, even when we are away. This got me to thinking about having an active lifestyle and how much our family's attitude towards sports and health impacts our adult lifestyle.

When I was little I was a very active child. I had one friend in particular who loved to "chill out" and take naps in the afternoon. Much as I liked this girl, I had no patience for TV, sitting around etc. I was always biking riding, rollerblading and running around outside. My family was also very active. We took bikes on vacation and even though my dad claims he had to drag me down the bike path at times, we went for some pretty long bike rides. All of us were also involved in soccer, ice skating, and all sorts of different sports when we were young. Over the years I have participated in organized versions of the following sports: ballet, gymnastics, soccer, figure skating, basketball, softball, modern dance, ice hockey, tennis, swim team and golf lessons. I was never particularly great at any of these things (better that some more than others haha), probably because I was focused on too many different things and never put a ton of effort into any one place.

There was a point though when I got kind of sick of all the active things and just kind of wanted to hang out with my friends and relax (sometime around middle school/early high school). I remember I told my family I was born into the wrong family because everyone in mind like to do too much! My dad told one of his friends who said later on I would realize I was actually born into the right family (meaning, thats a good way to be!). It was towards the end of high school that I got more into going to the gym and working out. By then I didn't play any more organized sports and I needed to be active in some way. While I did work out fairly often in college (and particularly when I was studying abroad in Australia- thank god because I was eating TERRIBLY), I was never in a great routine with the gym/working out until after college.

As an adult I have come to truly enjoy being active and healthy. I find it difficult to go a long time without working out even when I am busy or I have an injury. I know a lot of adults find it hard to stay active without organized sports, but I actually prefer it. I am very self motivated and I don't like to be on a schedule of a team, and have the pressure of being good for the team. If I have a bad run, or can only spend 15 minutes of the elliptical, the only person who is affected is myself and I don't mind :) I am more competitive than I'd like to admit but not quite competitive enough to put the effort into team sports. I like to have my own accomplishments like my 5k and the triathlon. I do better with something to train for or some kind of goal to reach, but I am currently struggling with what I can do because my knee is still really bothering me despite direct following of the doctors orders. I do really enjoy working out now, and make it a big priority in my life. I guess I was born into the right family after all!

I have a close friend who is very active herself. She loves team sports and plays on a couple of different adult teams. She also works out herself. Her family is not active at all and she is always trying to encourage them to do healthy and active things. I wonder how she became so active without the role models that I had, but I'm glad she did! What about you, did your family encourage being active when you were child? Were you always involved in one sport or another? How has that shaped your lifestyle now? If you have kids, how are you attempting to pass on your active lifestyle?


  1. Olivia does dance class and we have "dance parties" sometimes where we put on music and just dance!!! she also sees me workout all the time and knows that i do it to keep healthy. i was always pretty active when i was younger, because my two closest neighborhood buddies were boys- and they were always bike riding, swimming, doing karate, building go-carts, etc. we also had cousins we were close with who loved playing sports.. we were always running around!! i think its a good thing to have your child growing up keeping busy.. much better for their self-esteem and overall health

  2. it would take too long to retell my story, but there are bits and pieces of it woven within my blog.

    however, i was not active in high school or college nor did i grow up in an active family. this all started for me somewhere around age 40 when a few life experiences taught me not to take anything for granted...especially my health and the ability to get out an move.

  3. I did not grow up in an active family and I didn't play any sports in high school. When I was younger, I rode bikes with my brothers, roller bladed, etc, but I wouldn't that was about it. It wasn't until I came to college and met my best friend that I began to see the importance of being active. I cannot say that I enjoy it, but I understand that it is a necessary evil!! I struggle with working out regularly because I can usually find every other excuse in the world not to do it! I average about 2-3 days a week, which is okay with me when I think about how far I've come!!

  4. I think I grew up in a semi-active family, but once I hit puberty and started to gain a lot of weight, I became SO self-conscious about doing any activity that I completely stayed away from it. I didn't really start to exercise until college, but it wasn't a routine for me. Last year when I decided I needed to lose weight, I made exercise a priority. Now, even though I have my lazy days, I like being active and feel so much better about myself. I've come a long way!

  5. All of the kids in my family were in sports at some point of my life, but my brothers were the only ones to stick w/ it through the end of high school. My parents kind of encouraged artsy stuff more than athletics. They wanted us to be active, but they also wanted us to participate in speech/band/drama/etc. So I feel like I got a good mix.

    Out of the 5 kids in my family, I am one of 2 that is very into running. I have sister who will work out occasionally, but she doesn't stick to it. I definitely prefer individual sports so that is why running is a good fit for me. I am competitive, but I just don't excel at any team sports.

    Interesting question, though! I dream of marrying a runner and then we could get our kids into running and see if they take it to the level we do.

  6. nope, my parents had me in figure skating and gymnastics eraly on, but I stopped at about 11 years old ad wasn't active until after brain surgery and quitting smoking, when I *needed* to do something to shed a bit of weight. I put my son into karate at age 4, and just watching me train for my first triathlon, asked me to sign him to for one too, which he'll do on Sept 26th. I think that by doing, you're providing an unspoken example, and it's important to nurture their interest. Great question!

  7. My parents have always been active, whether they are bike riding, walking, or rowing (as in, water rowing!). They were great role models for me, plus they never pushed me to do anything I did not want to do (except take a third year of piano...). I was always active, but I'll also admit I watched a bit too much tv than I should have. I played softball, took tap and ballet, swimming, diving, lacrosse, I just LOVE being active!

    I also loved your story. Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Regarding the Trader Joe's chicken, it tasted good, but not great. I did not add much to it, but next time I will. It says that it was marinated but it was not very obvious. They were cheap (7 dollars for 6 breasts) and quick to prepare, so overall I'd recommend them, but add your own seasonings, etc.

  9. I was raised in an active family; football, horses, bikes, and sports. We raised our kids to make their own choices with sports and they didn't play team sports but we have all been active; surfing, running, biking, camping...I just never have questioned our active lifestyle. It just seems normal.

  10. I WAS in all kinds of sports - volleyball, baseball, swimming, but mostly hockey! I definitely noticed that exercising on a regular basis is a natural habit of mine, eating well, on the other hand - not so much!

  11. Good post!

    I was a pretty active kid. Back on 'those days' we didn't play video games or watch TV all day. I was outside playing with my siblings and friends until dark.

    I had some really bad habits in my highschool days and early twenties and became very unhealthy. I was a lazy slob. :( I finally took control of my health again shortly before getting married and took up running after that... since then, I haven't looked back!

    My hubby is a runner also, but the rest of our families are not active AT ALL. It's kind of frustrating and depressing sometimes, watching them laze around and drink and smoke. I just want to shake some sense into them...

  12. i grew up in various sports too - gymnastics, softball, soccer, basketball and running. i think that's all of them. my sister's did too, but as we grew older (high school/college) some of us stayed active and some did not. fortunately, my sisters who took a break from physical activity rediscovered it and now we're all pretty much regular work-outters.

    i still think i'm lazy. i'll run, but other than that i sit around! :) i wish i could make myself lift weights or at least do abs/pushups but i can barely make myself stretch after a run. for that, i call myself lazy.

    i would *like* to play some sort of adult sports for the camaraderie as well as competition but i feel you either get a team that is 0% or 100% competitive, no healthy balance. (just my thought on it, have never played on an adult team). oh yeah, and i was never that great at sports when i was little so i'm sure i'd make a fool of myself anyway if i tried to now! that's why i stick to running, no hand-eye coordination, no difficult skills, just one foot in front of the other. i can handle that, most days.

    enjoyed reading a little about you and your athletic history!