The Reluctant Mover

By Debbie Koenig

My son turned 10 the other day. As he’s gotten older, he’s become more sedentary: Video games and computer time, though limited, claim most of his enthusiasm, with reading a close second (thank god). He never glommed on to any particular sport. And kids his age are way less likely to run around the playground like a shrieking maniac just because. Instead, they stroll the perimeter in pairs or small groups, talking about — you guessed it — video games.

We’ve tried to counteract his sloth-like tendencies by scheduling family activities on the weekends, things that require all three of us to get moving. And on our two-week vacation in Maine, we made that a priority. The first week he attended a day camp, which he loves even though electronics are prohibited and there’s lots of physical activity. My husband and I each did our own thing while he was there, running, walking, or biking. (Up top you’ll see a picture of me on the bike my husband rented while we were there, my first time on a bike in more than 30 years!)
The second week, I planned with military precision. I figured if we did something majorly active every day, kiddo would balk by around Day 3. So I alternated days, with an easy-but-still-physical activity following every movement-heavy one:
  • Day One: Two-mile jog to the lighthouse, with kiddo on his scooter.
  • Day Two: A hike with a wrong turn, which took us 500 feet higher and 2 hours longer than expected. According to my pedometer, we climbed 51 flights of stairs! We were all pretty wrecked after that one.
  • Day Three: Candlepin bowling and mini-golf. (We really needed an easy day!)
  • Day Four: All day at the county fair, with laser tag, rides, and miles of walking.
  • Day Five: Two-hour kayaking tour of the harbor. Upper body workout, baby.
  • Day Six: A visit to a historic fort, with lots of stairs and climbing spots to explore.
  • Day Seven: A trek to the lighthouse in the morning, loads of packing and cleaning, and another lighthouse trip in the evening, to say goodbye.
I won’t say that kiddo did all of this willingly — he definitely wanted to stay at the house, chilling, more than we did — but once we got moving things always worked out fine. Well, except for that hike. That was a slog.

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