I'm a runner.
Last year I joyously completed the Shamrock Shuffle, Soldier Field 10-Miler, Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon, CARA's Ready to Run 20-Mile Race, and the finale, the infamous 10-10-10 Chicago Marathon. Yes, it was a lot of running and most importantly, time management. Because although I may be a runner, I am, first and foremost, a mommy.
So "balance" was a basic principle I adopted quickly. I would wake up early to get my long runs in, use naptime or nighttime when necessary, and perhaps the most fun of all, train as I pushed that double BOB jogger with my family. Luckily, my husband is a workout fanatic, too. We could check the workout off our "to do" list, as well as offer the kids fresh air and sightseeing along the way.
But the real takeaway has been how inspired our children have become. Charlotte may only be 4, but she told me recently she hopes to become a doctor, cupcake-maker and worker-outer when she grows up (blush). Frank is only 2, but he already runs circles around many of his friends.
Here, six urban dwellers share their own approaches for making fitness fun for the entire fam:
Coryn Vaderwall, mom to Ian and Elle
"Because my kids become antsy sitting in the jogging stroller for too long, I try to keep it fun for them. So I typically choose a destination park that's about 1.5 miles from my house. I jog to the park, then unleash the little ones and let them run around and play for at least 20 minutes, while I chase them and continue moving. Then, snack in tow, we get back into stroller mode and head home. The entire thing can take up to one hour, and it's pure fun that's also fitness!"
Anne Book, mom to Jack
"My son Jack and I create a mock obstacle course at Oz Park. We pick trees to run back and forth to, sprinting, jumping, zig-zagging, etc.; we use the field as a place to do drills, like jumping jacks, squats, lunges and more. And before we head to the park, we pack a big bag of essentials, like a stopwatch, water bottles, towels and post-workout fuel (granola bars and bananas). We get our heart rates up as we count and play together."
Amy Zemnick, mom to Samantha and Andrew
"Our bike trailer was an amazing purchase. My two kids wear helmets, of course, inside the trailer-and I give them music and books to keep them entertained along the ride. When weather allows, we use this as our major mode of transportation, to the beach, park, grocery store, friend's houses-really any place that they want to go."
Stefanie Coslow, mom to Peyton and Tyler
"I'm a total yogi: I take at least four classes a week and teach two or three. So I want my kids to enjoy and adore it as much as I do. We do yoga together often, in our home or even at the park. It's fun to teach them moves and meditation skills, as well as to spend time together."
Jamie Fishman, mom to Julia and Evie
"Lincoln Park is home to one of the best free zoos in the nation. Lucky us! I love to power walk to, and then through, the zoo with my kids. They can watch the animals, and I can break a sweat. Then, we all run around the park just outside the zoo, and I push them on the swings, etc., for an even better workout. Genius!"
Wendy Widom, mom to Mia
"My daughter and I love a good dance party. We turn the music up loudly and just move it! We shake, jump, hop, skip, and boogie, as we take turns choosing the songs and type of music. It's a blast!"