In fact, all year long, people over 50 say that being strong for their grandchildren is their No. 1 reason for staying fit – or for wanting to get fit in the first place.
Being an active grandparent requires physical ability – strength, endurance and flexibility – that you can build in a gym or studio. You want to be able to enjoy each other and build memories together. And playtime, exercise, and other activities can do all of that, while showing them that even “older” people are fun and engaged in life.
When the grandchild is an infant, you’ll want to get down on the floor – and then back up again. As the kids grow and get heavier, you’ll be picking them up and carrying them around. By the time they can run, they’re going to want Grandma and Grandpa to go outside and play.
Be a loving leader and get them away from screens to engage in creative play. You don’t even have to tell them it’s exercise, although it’s good for older ones and teens.
We’ll help you gain confidence with strong legs, back, core, glutes and more. We’re here to help, so come tell us about your special little ones and we’ll get you in shape for all kinds of things like:
- Visiting a playground to swing, climb and explore.
- Hiking in a neighborhood or out of town on a trail. Play “I Spy with My Little Eye” or scavenger hunt games. Look for certain wildlife or birds.
- Bicycling – As they keep growing, think of the special times you’ll have riding together.
- Snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling – Don’t let winter keep you inside. Bundle up, stay safe, and have fun.
- Skating – Roller-skating at a rink or on your sidewalk, plus ice skating in the winter.
- Working out – If you’ve walked them to, say, gymnastics practice, sneak in your own workout if possible. If they’re old enough, bring them with you here.
- Running in a local 5k “turkey trot.”
- Tossing the football or frisbee in the back yard of park.
- Playing sports with them, whether it’s tennis, golf, basketball or anything. Introduce them to yoga; even little ones will be intrigued with the fun names like “downward dog,” “cat pose” and “warrior pose.”
- Dancing around the house.
- Volunteering in the community. It’s good for your physical and emotional health, and it will help the child learn about civic responsibility and generosity.
- Reading might not be a physical activity, but it reduces stress, helps us calm down and focus, and improves their early learning, vocabulary, empathy and connections. Plus, who doesn’t want to snuggle on the couch with a book and a kid?
With so many fun, healthy activities to share, it’s no wonder that our grandchildren are our No. 1 reason for wanting to be fit after 50. And even if you don’t have any, these are all good things to do alone or with anyone of any age. Join in!
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.