One of my big parenting goals is to teach my kids that living
a healthy, active lifestyle can be such a happy, natural part of each day.
Most of us make it to adulthood with some level of health programming we’ve absorbed from our childhood. For some, that means that they love playing sports with friends or family. For some, that’s a steady flow of internal or external body shaming when they eat a brownie or go swimsuit shopping. I have a friend who does high-intensity mud races and obstacle challenges–she’s amazing! I was also roommates with a girl once who’s mom had never let them eat sweetened cereal or have candy. She spent a few semesters eating every last sweet thing she’d been denied in her house growing up and then panicking that her mom would know when she went home for Thanksgiving.
We all have a history. For better, for worse.
One thing that’s really important to me as my children grow up is for them to see that eating healthy, nutritious food and being active doesn’t mean you have to beat your body into miserable submission. In the same way I want them to remember baking cookies together or movie nights on the couch, I want them to know how good strawberries taste when they’re in season and how fun it is to spend an afternoon at the pool together.
In that vein, when it comes to exercising and being active, one of the big things I hope my children learn from us is that it can be a natural, enjoyable part of our day.
That’s probably one of the most freeing truths I’ve learned as an adult. Just because I don’t love sports doesn’t mean I don’t like to be active. I can take care of my body at my pace and in the ways that I enjoy. I want my children to grow up doing the same in whatever way they like, whether that’s sports, or kitchen dance parties, or yoga, or riding a bike.
My big goal is to teach them this by example. We talk about things a lot–how playing at the park is great exercise, how fun it is to go swimming together, how good I feel after doing yoga, etc. We go on walks in the evenings, and I do yoga or at-home workouts pretty regularly when they can see. I want them to know that being active can be joyful and happy. Which is one reason that I got Gladys.
To my regular routine of walks, at-home workouts, and yoga, I’ve recently fulfilled one of my life goals, which is to get a cruiser bike. There are few things that feel as happy and carefree than the wind in my hair and the sun on my face as I pedal my bike! It’s just so fun!
Gladys is a Columbia 1952 Retro Cruiser. And she’s as wonderful as she is adorable. Columbia is the oldest bicycle company in the U.S. (they invented the tandem bicycle and made many of the classic bikes you think of–from the “Newsboy” special to the banana seat) and they’re re-launching a line of vintage bikes that have that classic cruiser feel.
There are a lot of colors and models to choose from (all are very affordable), but I’m especially smitten with mine. From the sturdy steel frame (no plastic to be found) to the beautiful paint job, she’s so pretty! She’s also very functional. She handles like a dream, has a great little cargo rack, and was really easy to put together (really, the whole thing took just under an hour).
I can’t tell you how good it feels to go on a bike ride at the start or end of the day. The point of a cruiser (vs. a road bike or a mountain bike) is a gentle, easy ride. And that’s exactly what it is. The chance to clear my head, move my body, and get outside.
So, I may not win any speed races in the near future, but I do think there will be plenty of happy rides ahead. And I can’t wait till our kids are fast enough that we can ride together!
The 1952 Retro Cruiser can be found at Toys R Us, Target, and Amazon, and be sure to check Toys R Us, Target, Amazon, Walmart and Dicks retailers where other adorable Columbia Bicycles can be found!