Family business blogger Daphne Mallory says she loves to play pickleball with her daughter. “There's nothing like it,” she said. “It's tennis, meets table tennis, meets volleyball. At first blush, you think that you won't get a workout, but we leave sweating, and the older adults we play with—some of which are former tennis players—kick our butts, every time.”
Courtney Hughes Ph.D., a Chicago-based health and wellness consultant, health care researcher and writer, and mother of three, says that one of the ways her family stays fit together is through rock climbing. “I belay the kids while they climb the wall,” she explained. “It’s great for communication as we strategize what routes to follow and use the standard commands. Sometimes we all hook up to auto belays and race up the wall.”
“Personally, I like helping my three kids—they’re 11, 8 and 5—exercise with me,” Hughes said. “When they are in the four to seven age range, I like going for a run while they bike along with me. We are around the same pace while their bike wheels aren’t too big yet, and they just love venturing beyond our driveway and street.”
Hughes said that her family often hikes together on Mother’s Day and throughout the year. “When my kids were toddler ages, they each rode in a hiking backpack,” she said. “I hope that by us starting these activities and traditions early, my kids will be exercising with mom until I’m so old that I need to be the one biking while they run.”
Wendy LeBolt, Ph.D., CEO of Fit2Finish, LLC and author of “Fit 2 Finish: Keeping Your Soccer Player in the Game”, said it was her late mom who inspired her to pursue fitness as a career. “She attended pretty much all my games and tournaments through high school," she said. "She was voted 'most valuable fan' by my high school softball team.” LeBolt , now a mother of three, said that her daughters grew up exercising with her and she would often take them to “Mommy and Me” classes that were part of the kid's club at her local gym.
LeBolt said that her and her daughters would also perform workouts at home with follow-along videos. “We had a workout videotape—yes, a video—called ‘Workout with Mommy and Me,’” she said. “[It had] a catchy song and fun lyrics. [My daughters] still sing it—and they're 25, 22 and 18 years old.”
There’s almost no better way to bond with your mom than by simply taking a walk with her. And even Franklin Antoian, one of SHAPE Magazine’s Top 50 Trainers in America and founder of iBodyFit.com, agrees: your workout with mom doesn’t have to be crazily intense or complicated. “One of the simplest ways to work out with mom is to just take a walk,” he said. “Walking is low-impact, it burns calories and it can help get some sedentary moms outside.” He suggested anything from a beach or park walk to something as simple as a stroll through your neighborhood.
“Maybe your mom brought you to the office when you were young,” said Michelle Collier, owner of Performance Fitness in Pennsylvania. “Why not return the favor?” If you don’t already go with your mom, she suggests inviting her to your favorite group fitness class, especially since many gyms and studios offer “bring a friend” and guest promotions. At Performance Fitness they have a "Bring Your Mom to Work(out)" special in May. “Members can bring their mom to a week of workouts for free,” Collier said.
Those who can’t be in the same physical location as their mom on Mother’s Day might consider setting up a virtual workout. Laurie Maddox is a trainer with Fitnet, a workout app that she says allows you to perform exercises from anywhere with anyone. “If you’re looking for ways to work out with Mom this mother's day, but can't travel to be with her, schedule a Fitnet workout date,” she said. “You can chat on the phone while you're doing the workout or pick a time to complete a workout series and then call her afterwards and talk about it.” You can also work out together from far away by connecting through an event on fitRaise, a platform that allows people to join virtual events where they can earn donations for causes they care about while they run, walk or cycle at their own location on their own time. “What better way for moms and children that are geographically apart to feel connected to a cause and each other while they exercise, and maybe even talk on the phone during their workout,” said fitRaise CEO Bobby Valentine.