family hate exercise

There. I said it. My family hates exercise.

It’s embarrassing and politically incorrect to type that sentence, especially for me as someone who writes and speaks about fitness. Are we the only ones out there? Yet it is (most of the time) the truth and I feel called to speak my truth.

In my immediate family — Mike, me, and the 5 kids, most of us are more…sitters. Once we are moving, we enjoy it, true. But when we are at home, we tend to like to stay at home. We are readers and TV-watchers, computer programmers and Facebook users. We like long chats over coffee and curling up with a good book in front of our fireplace under blankets. We build with legos and create elaborate crafts with paper scraps and whole rows of mom’s staples. In the summer we enjoy air-conditioning. Team sports tend to make us nervous and please, don’t throw a ball our way and expect all but a few of us to catch it.

It’s not that we are totally opposed to breaking a sweat, and we do fit workouts into our days to varying degrees, although it’s on the “have-to-do” list more than the “just-part-of-who-I-am” list. It’s only in the last few years of my adult life that I have learned to enjoy exercise. I thought it was something people were born with and I simply wasn’t born with the exercise love gene the way other people were.

I’ve read that in Jesus’ time people walked 6-8 miles a day as a normal part of life. Fifty or 100 years ago, most of us would have been farmers or labors of some sort and fitness would have been part of the daily routine. We’ve made life so much easier for ourselves that now we have to add it back onto the schedule. It’s possible in our modern day life to go days, weeks or months without getting much physical activity.

Our kids have tried a variety of different sports over the years and enjoyed a number of them. The issue came when they reached the competitive level. We don’t want them on a team where they participate 4-6 nights of the week, and we absolutely make church a priority on Sunday mornings. Plus we also think down time and family time are important. Simply the logistics of a larger family make more than one activity per child tough, too. But I will admit they have struggled to find their place and a fitness activity they do enjoy.

Our neighborhood has become more culturally diverse over the last 10 years, and lately Mike and I have noticed that at the park down the road, many families come on the weekends to play soccer or football in the open fields. For Caucasian families, in general, it’s mostly the kids or maybe the kids and the dads. But we’ve noticed that in other cultures, the whole family comes out and participates. That is so great!

We want to find more activities we can enjoy together as a family on a regular basis. We love hiking together, going for bike rides, and even playing at the park, although we haven’t found a way to work these activities into our everyday routine. In the winter we like sledding and have tried skiing a few times. Those tend to be more once in a while, too. My younger boys have been practicing Tae Kwon Do for years and just recently Mike, Rebekah, Kiersten, and I have started practicing as well.

Our whole family is going to participate in the Faithful Finish Lines beta test. We have decided we are going to train for a “Borgstede 5K” during the 7 week program. Some of us will walk and some will walk/run. We’ll go to a park at the end of the time and have our own fun event together. Mike’s parents are going to join us, too, and maybe we’ll take the kids out to breakfast afterwards or some other fun reward for their efforts. My friend Jan and I are going to train for our annual “Triathlon at the Gym” as our goal during the FFL program, so I’ll be busy. I need the renewed fitness motivation and am ready for the challenge.

Tonight at dinner our family discussed this new commitment we are undertaking.

Paul: “I have to walk 300 miles? That will take forever!”

Bekah: “No, just 3.1 miles.”

Paul: “Can I get a big shiny medal? I want to be able to see my face in it.”

Zack: “Awww, man! Can’t we drive the car there?”

Mom: “What should we name our event?”

Dad: “The Borgstede herd 5k? There are a lot of us.”

Kiersten: “I want ‘The Borgstede Pack.’ Packs work together and herds don’t.”

Mom: “The Borgstede Pack 5K. Perfect.”


Do you stay fit together as a family? Does your family enjoy exercise? Do you?

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