by Kelsey Hodges
As a mom of two young boys and dog owner of 2 yellow labs, I think staying active is inevitable. They seem to have endless energy, and I want to be able to keep up with them. I make time for my own workouts, but we also make it a point to get outside and stay active together as a family. I want to lead by example so that, by staying active, we are taking care of our bodies and can achieve all that God has planned for us.
The summer months are much easier to do this, but we still venture out on cold winter days and appreciate the season. It seems like we can get cooped up during the winter, and sitting in front of the fire seems so cozy. But when my boys are running around the house, yelling too loud and not listening, this is when we need to get outside the most! Getting outdoors helps us to reset. It’s amazing what a little fresh air can do for some wild boys!
My kids are young, and I’m lucky to be home with them more days than not. On these days, one of our favorite things to do, together, is take “an adventure” (walk) through our little woods or a nearby trail. This includes cross-country skiing, going for sled rides and snowshoeing – when we have enough snow. When my husband is with us, these walks usually involve something to do with hunting; putting up a deer stand, pheasant hunting, looking for antler sheds, etc. We each need to find something that motivates us to get moving.
I’ve realized that when we’re outside taking a walk in the woods, my boys are learning so much. We’re not just getting exercise, but they are becoming their own persons. By leading the way, they are gaining confidence in themselves. They practice balance and coordination while climbing a fallen down tree. When they jump and clear a puddle, they start to believe in themselves. Throwing rocks or snowballs helps them to know their own strength. When they get stuck on a branch, they realize that they sometimes need help, and that’s okay. They learn to persevere when they are tired and must keep going until we get home (M&Ms may come in handy to keep them motivated too!). They slow down and notice the little beauties of nature that God has created for us—an animal track, a bird singing, a deer rubbing, or a beautiful sunset. Most importantly, we’re taking valuable time together to form a trusting parent/child relationship that will be with them their whole lives.
I am guilty of being on my phone too much or being distracted when I should be focusing on my family, but when we take a walk together, I am completely there in the moment. I encourage you to take a walk together as a family, even when it’s cold outside.
Kelsey Hodges is a registered nurse. She is the mother of two energetic boys and married to her high school sweetheart. Together, they enjoy raising their active family on a small acreage.