Fitness Plan for GrandparentingApr 5th, 2017 | By Guest Post | Category: Senior Moments Blog
SCJ has a new friend! He is Paul, a health and fitness blogger at FatherFitness. Recent correspondence with Paul resulted in his offering to write an article about grandparenting and fitness. It’s a great read, so enjoy!
When our son was born in 2009 my mother-in-law retired so when my wife returned to work a year later we had the best child care option. Granny Marje had always been active, juggling three jobs, all involving the care of young children until she retired aged 60. It would have been so easy (and maybe welcomed! for her to kick back, take it easy and settle into a relaxing retirement. Of course we had other ideas for her, blessing her with the task of Granny daycare three days a week.
I have to say she embraced the task 100% and even took the opportunity to be more active. Unless it was pouring down with rain, Granny Marje would be pushing our son in his pram everywhere she needed to go. It was a rare day if you didn’t spot them out and about walking. Let’s throw doggy daycare into the mix as my sister-in-law’s dog also stays at Granny Marje’s house.
Despite having access to a car, which let’s face it is so easy to mindlessly jump into and go to the shops, she would always choose to walk. So when my son was two years old and started at a local playgroup people would comment what a good little walker he was because he was never in his stroller and always walked there and back with Granny Marje. They were keeping each other active! Perfect.
My daughter was born in 2012 and when my wife (Mutha Fitness) went back to work a year later it coincided with my father-in-law retiring at the age of 63. Now if you asked Granny Marje she would say that he embraced the relaxation of retirement well and would always be the one on the sofa having snuggles with our baby girl while she ran around after everyone. Our son was at nursery every morning by this stage but again would more often than not involve a walk with our little girl in the stroller so each day involved some form of exercise.
One of the best things about the grandparents taking care of our children for some of the week is that they’d developed so many motor skills via school yard type games before they’d even started school. The older generation grew up in a time when there were no tablets, games consoles, endless children’s TV shows and it was safe to play in the streets without supervision. For this reason, they played so many games outside for hours on end and it seemed only natural to them to teach our children the same. They’ve spent many a day in Granny Marje’s back yard learning to hula hoop, skip, throw bean bags and play hop scotch. The grandparents always join in with games, which of course helps to maintain their mobility and flexibility and ultimately keep their joints supple as they get older.
Our children are both at school now and I’m proud to say that my in-laws continue to take long walks and have even bought fitness trackers so they can ensure they hit 10,000 steps each day. The school run also helps towards those steps and being climbed all over by two excited kids who want piggy backs and leg lifts keeps the joints moving. I created a nature trail activity sheet to help keep the kids entertained on some long walks, as sometimes they can get bored.Whenever the kids misbehave and Granny Marje and Grandad are looking at the end of their tether, my wife always jokes that it keeps them young and do you know what, they’d totally agree. Having grandchildren gave them a lease of life after retirement and has kept them on a healthy path. Long may it continue. Thanks for reading, Paul aka Father Fitness