This time of year always reminds me of family camping vacations to Mount Desert Island, Maine. The air is a little crisper, the clouds a little puffier and fall feels moments away. I loved these trips soaking up the last glorious days of summer. If you have never been, this place seems wonderfully enchanted. The mountains are covered in dense, fresh-smelling pine forests, and surrounded by cold Atlantic waters that lend a briny scent to the air. Our camp site was right on the harbor, and overlooking it there was a little rock in the shape of a bench that fit my two sisters and me just perfectly. Sounds ridiculously idyllic. And for one week every year, it was.
The best part of these trips was how active they were. We didn’t lie on a beach all week or roast in the sun while waiting to ride roller coasters and gorging on cotton candy (although there was an ice cream shop called CJ’s Big Dipper that we visited once or twice that I still drool over.) No. We hiked, kayaked, canoed, swam and jumped from rocks into the ocean only to climb back up and jump again.
When I look back on these times, I am grateful for this gift my parents gave my sisters and me. We were taught to be physical, we were taught to move and that these things were entertainment, even on vacation. Especially on vacation. In the face of the obesity crisis in our country, the diabetes and heart disease epidemic, what better thing could you do for your children other than teach them this? Children learn by example.
I have a client who is very sporadic about training, but who recognizes the value of a healthy lifestyle. She bought a few sessions for her daughter who just graduated college and is equally sporadic when it comes to exercise. When I told her I was having trouble scheduling sessions with her daughter, despite the fact that the sessions were already bought and paid for, she laughed and said, “Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” No it doesn’t. And your children probably won’t fall far from your habits. My parents are 60. My dad just climbed Mt. Whitney – the highest peak in the continental U.S. and a 16 hour endeavor. My mother still runs marathons. It is not a coincidence that my sisters and I are all fit and active. Where do you want your apple to land?