FITfamily Summertime

School’s Out for Summer! 

It is that time of year that all parents of school-aged children simultaneously welcome and dread.  The end of the school year…

The end of the blasted routine! The end of packing school lunches! The end of homework struggles! The end of sports practices, ball games and organized activities!


The end of that blessed routine. The end of well thought-out, sensibly packed lunches. The end of professionally-led brain stimulation. The end of organized group exercise for the kids.

And for a lot of us, the end of a great chunk of our “Mommy Time.”

Yes, summertime can be as bittersweet as the lemonade sold on the sidewalk. And FITfamily is here to help you find creative and fun ways to keep yourself and your  family FIT and ACTIVE when “RELAX” is the message of the season.

No More Autopilot

My school-year exercise routine is a no-brainer. Drop Will (7) and Anna (5) at school in the morning and autopilot to the gym for a class led by a perky and creative instructor whom I blissfully and mindlessly follow. No thinking or planning required!  But in the summer, when PJs have the potential to be worn well into the afternoon, there is no such thing as “autopilot.” We summer mamas have to be intentional and pro-active.

So in the spirit of planning, here are some ideas to add to your arsenals:

  • Family bike rides: Now that both kids have ditched the training wheels, this has become really fun. We have big plans for some fun rides this summer. I’ve heard the trails on Roosevelt Island are shady and not crowded.
  • Family hikes: We love to take our golden retriever on hikes through Battery Kemble Trail, which runs along a creek and has fun bridges to cross and lots of nature to take in. We “power hike” one way and keep a more leisurely pace on the way back, taking time to stop and wade in the creek, hunt for toads, sort rocks and be explorers.
  • Swimming: The pool is a summer staple, but how often do you find yourself watching the kids get their exercise while you lie sloth-like in a lounge chair? Well, this summer, when the “adult swim” whistle blows, I’m plopping my kids at the end of a lane and tickling their toes when I come up (gasping!) for air after each lap. They think it’s hilarious to watch Mommy suck wind, and I sneak in some cardio, 15-minutes at a time!
  • Playground: Have you tried to do the monkey bars with your kids recently?  It’s harder than they make it look! While they’re getting great exercise without even thinking about it, I’m getting in a little work-out for myself with wall-sits, ladder climbs, park bench triceps dips, and yes, monkey bars!
  • Jogging the Track: There are several great tracks in DC. I taught my kids to ride their bikes at Horace Mann Elementary  and American University because their bouncy, rubbery tracks made for less-scary falls. They’re also better on my knees for jogging/power walking while the kids speed-cycle past me!
  • Foot races: I used to let Will beat me; now I can’t win if I try!
  • Play Ball! Here are the most popular in our family… basketball in the driveway, “wall ball” with a tennis ball against the garage (requiring poor mom to sprint to touch the garage before getting pelted with said tennis ball), baseball and soccer. Cardio workout, anyone?!

As for that lost “Mommy Time,” I am instituting one hour of “Quiet Me Time” every day this summer. For one hour, everyone does something they like to do QUIETLY and IN THEIR ROOMS. For Anna, that will be reading, drawing, playing dress up or dolls. For Will, LEGOs will be in full swing, along with drawing, reading and some time-monitored Nintendo DS. But as for me, I plan to pull out the yoga mat and my FITgal recommendations of either Tracey Anderson’s Metamorphosis DVD or my favorite CoreFusion DVD, lock the bedroom door, and have my Zen moment with a creative instructor who lets me zone out and follow in that blissful, mindless state.

Happy Summer days!!!



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