Thursday, 19 April 2012

Seventeen - Working out with Willow - Part 1

Being a parent has made want to ride my bike more. Obviously, this is not just because I want a break! 

It is so important to me that my daughter grows upbelieving in sport and being active; and, it is my responsibility to ensure thisvalue. But to do so, I need to make sport part of our lives – not just mine. And, I have realised, I don't think this can be too difficult if we do sport together.

At 15 months old, Willow is already copying her parents: ifI am cleaning my teeth, so will she; if Nick is maintaining a bike, she will beby his side eyeing up the dangerous tools in his box - she always goes for the most lethal; she is not always interested in her toys, when her parents are about, because she wants to interact with and help us. It’s lovely – sometimes anuisance – but lovely.

More importantly, this has huge advantages ...

I have said many times about how guilty I am leaving my baby while I go bike-riding – despite knowing that the cycling is good for me and she is always with someone who will spoil her. However,if Willow enjoys doing things with her mummy, this should include sport,shouldn’t it?

Therefore, I have spent weeks trying to develop a trainingschedule for me that means she has fun too. I have a BabyJogger with which Ican run with Willow; I have a Weeride which means she can come out on my bike (when the weather improves - when this rain stops);and, I have a wriggly 11kg weight that helps me work on my strength and mycore. In fact, this weight moves so much that my core has no other option than to be solid! (I hope!)

My baby is becoming my training mate.

But, the benefits are not only for me. They are for her too.

Willow will grow up to think that activity and outdoors lifeand sport are integral parts of living. Being sport requires being healthy and this mindset is something that I want Willow to learn.

Again, if I involve Willow in my running andriding, she gets to see so much more of the world. Only on Monday did we see a heronflying over a river by the side of the path on which we were running. She pointed at 'dat' and giggled because it was so close and so new. Similarly, sport has allowed me to visit beautiful parts of the country and todevelop a love affair with fresh mountain air. I want to share this with her. I know she loves being outdoors already but I want her to see more than just the back garden and suburban parks. I want her to know that a technical single-track descent leaves you grinning more than a ride at Alton Towers ever can do. And, I want her to have the chance to compare the two. 

Doing sport with Willow means we get to do something together – routined and enjoyed.And, she is involved with me doing something I love. I’m less guilty and she’smore involved. My weights sessions involve intimate and close cuddles – usually sticky anddisjointed because she likes to run about too and in active excitement, she covers me in drool. But, we seem to be playing while I amworking on my biceps and quads! Not to mention, soon she will be counting to 20 quitefluently!

And, what’s more exciting than sharing a passion with yourchild? 

Therefore, Willow and I have so much fun working out together. It's a win-win situation.

Until she becomes a teenager, at least ...

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