Making Exercise a Family Affair

In this episode of Healthy Family Project, we talk to our very own Lesley Daniels about the importance of exercising as a family. Lesley shares tips on everything from fitting in exercise in your family’s daily routine, how to fit exercise in no matter the season and how to enjoy exercise as a family.

When Lesley is not doing laundry, stepping on Legos or enjoying the great outdoors with her two little dudes, she is working alongside the greatest dedicated growers and grocery retailers to educate shoppers and raise funds for children’s charities.

As a working mom and passionate home chef, she knows the time crunch and pushback that parents face at meal time. Her passion is in providing great recipes, solutions and tips to make home life a little easier and healthier.

A Note from Lesley:

I am very excited to be part of the Healthy Family Project to share my passion about exercising as a family. Growing up, I was an athlete playing multiple sports and I always knew I’d like to carry that on into my adult life and with a family. There came a point where I found hurdles and roadblocks that I never expected to have.

Life is busy. Sometimes we aren’t getting the exercise we need into our busy schedules. I hope this podcast episode inspires you to get out and get active with your own family.

Don’t worry about the “uniform,” getting in 60 minutes or even finding a sitter. Have fun and know that exercise doesn’t have to look a certain way. There are no rules to being active!

From YouTube yoga to homemade ninja courses and more, Amanda and I are covering all the bases in this episode.

Please leave your questions, ideas or inspiration in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy the episode!

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Want to skip straight to a hot topic? See time stamps below. But of course, we recommend listening all the way through!

  • 2:44 How to make exercise part of the regular routine
  • 10:15 How to stay active when it’s raining or snowing
  • 15:17 Fun outdoor activity ideas
  • 21:04 How to find the motivation to exercise

Other Podcast Episodes to Check Out:

Healthy Family Project Podcast

Conversations covering hot topics in the world of health, food and family with a dose of fun. Helping families ease their way into a new fresh and healthy world.

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Transcript for Episode 24

This transcript was produced by Otter.Ai. Please forgive any misspellings and grammatical errors.

Welcome to the healthy family project by produce for kids, covering the hot topics in the world of health,
food and family with a dose of fun. I am really excited to cover off on today’s topic. As a parent, I can’t tell
you how many times I hear other parents saying they just cannot fit exercise into their schedule. I know
that we were all extremely busy families are busy, we’re running one place to the other homework,
everything else. And it really just seems like fitting one more thing into the mix may just break us. I know
because I’ve had that feeling. But I think there are definitely things we can be doing to keep our bodies
moving and healthy, that don’t really take up much up much time. And that we can do as a family. And
they may not even really feel like exercise. So today we are talking to Leslie Daniels, who is a longtime
friend of mine and also part of our produce for kids team. So we knew we wanted to talk about family
exercise and an episode and instead of looking for an outside guests, this time, we decided to use our
talent from within. Lesley has definitely always been a champion when it comes to exercising with her
family. You know, we see that as a team here just knowing her as a person. And we really couldn’t think
of anyone better to come on to talk to us about how to make exercise happen for us and for our family.
So let’s get started with today’s topic. Welcome to the healthy family project. Lesley, we’re so excited to
have you on today to chat.
Thanks for having me.
Wonderful. So today we’re talking all about getting your family exercising, we know that eating healthy is
a big part of you know, just living that healthy lifestyle, but we can’t forget about getting those families
active. And I know this is a big part of your world. So we felt like it would be great to have you on to give
us some tips. So let’s get started with our first question. We know life gets busy in between homework
after school activities chores, I really often hear other parents say they don’t exercise because they can’t
find the time that they don’t have the time to get away from the kiddos to exercise. So what ideas do you
have on how families can make exercise a regular part of the daily routine?
Yeah, so that’s a great question. And really, I think it takes me back to when I think about what my
definition of exercise in fitness in movement really was, you know, before kids and then how it changed
to now to after kids. So before kids, you know, I was able to go for a run or you know, train for a race or
go to yoga. If I felt like I was slipping or had really wonderful holidays, I could just commit to hitting the
gym for longer and more consistent times. And you have a family enter kids and all of that goes out the
window, right? So I had this preconceived definition or profile of really what like exercise and fitness
really was. And that really like went down to like even the uniform and the clothes that I was supposed to
be wearing whenever I was working out. And so it wasn’t until I really shifted away from that like mindset
or that vision of this like uniformed athlete and I myself as just who I was right. And once I was able to
kind of get away from that I was really able to just start seeing Exercise and Movement in little tinier fits
and spurts throughout our day and incorporate those into our already jam packed schedule. So really,
you know, ways to just get you know more into the routine would really just don’t feel like you have to get
away I feel like that’s probably the number one excuse is that you’re like oh how could I possibly leave
and go so I work out at home all the time. And I think that’s really you know, you again you don’t feel like
you can you got to lace up and you know where the the outfit and head to the gym with if you don’t have
to commute to the gym and you can find ways to just get that 15 or 20 minutes in your house. Whether
you’re running around in the yard, I can remember when my boys got their power wheels and they would

obviously not be very good drivers and so you had to literally run kind of like alongside of it. It was it was
a crazy workout. So just don’t take yourself too seriously and just find ways to move and move with your
kids. We have fitness bands in our house and if you’ve ever tried to you know track your fitness your
steps and keep up with a seven year old. That’s no joke. So definitely, definitely just, you know, trying to
get those little movements. And then I think reaching for it daily to kids need a recommended 60 minutes
of active play each day. And adults are really looking for, you know, 20 to 40 minutes per day or three to
five hours a week. So you need to really just break that down into tiny little bits throughout your week, if
you’re really going to achieve that. One of my favorite books, The Slight Edge really talks about, you
know, kind of how slow and steady wins the race over time. And so that’s, you know, really family
exercises, the purpose Perfect, perfect way to put that into practice. And to just kind of chip away at it
daily. So find times in your schedule, whether you you know, you have 15 minutes between you know, a
practice starting take a walk around your block or after dinner, you know, just trying to schedule it, like
you would anything else and start small, I wrote, you know, it takes 20 days to form a habit. So don’t take
on the world don’t think that you’re going to you know, as a family, you’re going to bike 15 miles a day.
Now just start with those few little bits. And it takes 20 days to form the habit. So you know, really don’t
don’t give up before you abandon ship, you know, really try to give it your all for those 20 days and see if
you can incorporate and embrace that new habit.
Well, that makes a lot of sense. And I sometimes, you know, while we work together, so you know, a lot
of my kind of tricks on how I tackle things in the workplace. And one of those is to if something seems
too big, or I’m not able to kind of figure out where to start with it, I break it into smaller chunks. And so
you ever made a really good point that, you know, don’t try to make it this big thing like alright, we need
to exercise now like that. It’s this just huge mountain you have to climb, break it into those smaller bits
and pieces, and just tackle them in those smaller kind of segments. That makes sense.
Yeah, exactly. And I also think you get burnout because, I mean, it’s exercise so I mean, it’s physical, you
know, commitment and you know, willpower will get you so far. And you know, you have to kind of take
the take the mindset that like you get to write and not that you have to so I can remember when my boys
were really small on my commute was pretty grueling. And honestly, Monday, you know, Monday through
Thursday, I really it was really hard to find a way to you know, put an actual physical you know, start and
finish workout time Yes, I was walking in the city and you know, I really tried to not take the shuttle or the
bus and make sure I was walking that mile round trip each day which was great. But so I committed to
getting those sweat sessions in on the weekends. I could control my times on Saturday and Sunday and
I could find 30 or 40 minutes each day so Saturday and Sunday those were my days to work out in my
you know definition of what working out meant and I got to write so that’s the the mindset is not that I
have to is that I get to because you know right now very healthy you know you get that opportunity
because you know someday you might not be as healthy or as fit or as young and so you know that was
you just make it work where you have time and then I really started to look forward to those weekend
workouts like those were really those were big stress relievers for me so even if you feel overwhelmed
and daunted there you know find a time and put it on your calendar I think that’s really important too.
Yes, it is and I’m just thinking as you’re talking my kids complaining because I park like you’re saying you
take you know you made sure you took the stairs instead of the shadow or like those little things that you
can do that maybe not It’s not like I attended an hour long you know class for this it was you know, I did
all these things, but my kids always complain because I park in a parking lot. Whatever store we’re at I
park far away because I feel like one no one’s gonna dig up my car but also why not park further away
and and make the walk so I can hear them yelling at me in my head.
Yeah, and that’s exactly, yeah, just those little bits. So start looking at it doesn’t have to be 40 full minutes
of exercise each day can just be five minutes here and there.
I love it. All right. So I’m here in Florida and we have about nine months of summer and three months of
maybe some of that spring or cooler weather. So we have a lot of outdoor time but I know you’re in the
Pittsburgh area and you experience all of the lovely seasons. So how does your family stay active
throughout the year, even if it’s too cold or rainy to go outside?

Yes, and here in Pittsburgh, we do we get all the seasons, all of them. And we love to be outside. So I
will say, we have invested in, you know, good boots and hats and layers and clothes. And so we tried to
get outside as often as we can, you know, so that’s good, but there are just some days where it’s just far
too rainy, or just, you know, too much of a mess outside, that we’re just not feeling it. So, when we are
inside, or like any other family, we watch TV, you know, that happens, we have sports teams that we like
to follow and things like that. So my husband actually brought home a balance board one one day a
couple years ago, and it has proved to be one of the most fun, you know, kind of like rainy day activities,
if we’re watching TV or a movie or, you know, a game and a commercial comes on, we’ll have bounce
board challenges, we’ll, the My boys are very active, they love to like, catch and throw balls will just, you
know, kind of with a lot of physical toys, and we’re just kind of always moving. So, you know, get off the
couch kids are constantly fidgeting and moving even, you know, really little ones, they’re crawling
around, get down on the floor and, and stretch and, you know, do planks together and laugh and crawl
and go through the toddler tunnel with them. Even just that little bit of movement, you know, can add up
and I love to stretch and use my foam roller while my kids want to watch a show or you know, we’re
trying to catch up on, you know, some award ceremony or something. So, use that time where you can,
you know, be you don’t have to actually be you know, slumped into the couch. While you’re doing that.
We love to have Friday night dance parties at our house too. So the kids have their playlist that’s on our
music account, and they really get to like break it down. And so we move furniture, and we laugh a lot.
And, you know, we dance for about 40 minutes or an hour. And that is a lot of fun. And it’s great exercise.
And it’s not something that you might think that it’s typical exercise, but we definitely are sweating and
laughing and makes for some good memories and also not screentime you know, I talked about working
out at home, I you know, get those workout DVDs. As cheesy as they might be YouTube has a ton of
videos, even just little ones that you can do. There’s a child out to find the link for it, when my boys are
really small. There are storybooks that are told and their yoga poses,
I was just gonna mention this because we did the same one. And so we definitely have to find this link to
share because that just entranced the the girls would do full on goes through the whole story.
And they loved it right and it was so much fun. And now my boys, you know, because they’ve watched
you know, mom do so many workout DVDs, they they have some kid workout DVDs that they love, and
they you know, especially when they were little or they would like they would dress up for there to go
work out. And so they would like put on their tank tops and like they’re like sweat bands, because it was
like it was like a game that they were playing and they were going to go do their, you know, 25 minutes of
you know, Kid workout video and they loved it. And then you know, we just our newest toy at our house
to break through the winters we just got our family just purchased a peloton bike, which is pretty much
about as close to being in like a boutique fitness class that you could possibly get to. So that’s a really
cool piece of equipment to have on hand. And they have some virtual rides or boys. They just got to ride
around Vancouver, virtually you can hop on it and go to Paris and search for the Eiffel Tower. So there’s
some really neat things that the kids can do to on the bike, but that’s pretty cool. So there’s definitely
there’s a lot of stuff. There’s deer out there too if you if you have to be inside and there’s ways to work
out while you’re inside.
Yeah, I love it. And I you know, dancing, I love to dance. So it’s, it’s Don’t underestimate the power of the
dance party because it’s all these things that are fun that are exercise, you’re moving your body and, you
know, I think we just have to move away from feeling like Okay, it’s time to exercise now. You know, it’s
more like this is just what we do we move.
Exactly, yes.
Awesome. All right. So you know, we definitely want to make it a point to spend less time on screens and
more time outdoors and I know for a lot of people the the weather’s starting to take a turn spring time. I
know you guys like to be outside and enjoy being out tied together as a family, what are some fun
physical activities that you guys enjoy to do while you’re outside?

Yeah, so we love we were always hiking, I think hiking is a really great way to get started and hiking is
walking so it’s it doesn’t take you know, you can start slow you know local parks, they typically if you
have like a hiking, you know, area, they’ll rate the hikes. Geocaching, which is something really neat,
where you kind of go on these hikes and at the, in the hikes, they have these boxes that are hidden and
they have family friendly ones, where you know, you you have to find the box, it’s based on a, you know,
a longitude and a latitude. So you’re, you know, you’re trying to travel through the woods to try to find
this, this specific point, you can learn how to use a compass. And so there’s some really cool things. If
going on a hike or you know, getting to a park or geocaching, you know isn’t really in your geography,
you can just go on a quest to like identify all the trees in your neighborhood. It’s you know, you can use
nature as your guide. To do that if you kids are into science, you could turn it into a lesson where you’re
moving and, and checking things out. Again, gardening yard work. My kids love to help and they don’t
realize that it’s maybe work yet, you know, especially if we’re doing it together. So, you know, picking up
sticks. I can remember one day I really wanted to go for a run it just wasn’t in the cards and my husband
kind of laughed at me he’s like, there’s a lot of sticks in the yard that need to get picked up. Why don’t
you run around and pick them up? And you know, it’s true and I did I you know, I ran around and picked
up and you know, at the end of my you know, workout maybe it wasn’t my neighbors probably thought it
was crazy. But at the end of it, you know, my yard was able to be mowed. And you know, I had a good
sweat and my kids you know had fun. I think getting some of those active toys to hula hoops. I know
Charlie loves cheese quite the hula hoop or Oh yes,
my girls will hula hoop for days. And that’s
so hard. Have you tried to hula hoop for like a long period of time it is no
yes, that and jumping rope. I feel like you know both of those things. And also things you can find at the
dollar store. By the way, I feel like some knit some of these old school type things are don’t get enough
credit, you know that? You know, we always were always looking for these new innovative toys and
gadgets and things. And in meanwhile, just grab a hula hoop from the dollar store a couple of them
because Charlie likes to get to going on a wrist one going around her waist.
Yeah, and I had with that skip it thing. Oh,
yes. And those are you can get those two, those are awesome. Those are really fun and really hard. But
really hard. Yeah. Teaches coordination, but then, you know, turn it into like a challenge. So, you know,
we talked about the balance board, my boys will will challenge me to, you know, the loser has to clean
their room and have a lot of fun. And I try really hard and believe me, I get beat all the time and end up
having to let you know organize a bookshelf or something that you know, in their room, but you know,
you get your get your workout in together the family and you’re making memories and it doesn’t even feel
like working out.
Exactly. Now I love it. And kids love a good competition like that good challenge, I feel like turned
something into a challenge. And there’ll be there’ll be all about
it. Yeah, you know, one other really fun thing that my kids are really into is like, you know, American Ninja
anything. And so they wanted like some elaborate American Ninja set, which did not get purchased. And
instead, we handed them some sidewalk chalk. And we’re like here build a ninja course. So they actually
will take sidewalk chalk, and they’ll kind of the run to courses along our driveway together. And they build
them it takes them you know, a while they they really think about it, you know, a long line is like a
balance beam and then they’ll draw circles and you have to hop from circle to circle like their platforms.

Then we time each other. So like then we have races and the ninja course and it takes you know, a
driveway safe space and some sidewalk chalk. And it’s amazing how many hours of non screen time fun
you can have out there and you know, just stay moving.
Well, and that’s kind of a good segue to our next what I’m thinking or next question and in my mind, so
we all know exercise is good for us and we should be doing it. So how do we as adults motivate
ourselves to get moving get The family moving, when sometimes it’s just so much easier, you know, to
pop on a movie and take a seat. And I felt like what we’re talking about right now, is, it’s very easy to just
say here kids go, you know, do your ninja course. And they’re doing it. And we kind of were like, oh,
okay, I can, you know, I can scroll through my feed on whatever social media outlet it is, and not that
there’s anything wrong with that. But how do we get ourselves to set that example for our kids and go,
You know what, I’m going to go do the ninja course. You know, I, I know, we all know the feeling after we
get our heart pumping. And we have, you know, get some movement in. And I know, everybody says, oh,
my gosh, I feel so good after I move. And how do we but for some reason, it’s just getting past that
hurdle to just do it. Sorry, that was totally long question. But how do we get going?
Yeah, so, you know, it is, it’s that, that determination that that like, want, and so I read a quote that really
moved me, I think, right after babies, and it was, you know, taking care of yourself is part of taking care of
your kids. And for me that, you know, you have to put your oxygen mask on yourself before you can help
others. And if you don’t have the energy, in the patients, I know, I’m a far more patient better mom, when
I’m, when I’m exercising, it is, you know, certainly for me a stress reliever. And, you know, it just
hormonally like emotionally, you know, everything that’s happening in your body, when you’re getting a
consistent exercise habit. For me, that has just been, I have to remind myself that that is why you need
to do it. And so, you know, I think just trying to just move, I never wanted to be the single mom, and you
know, you, when you before you have kids, you you have this idea of what kind of parent you might be,
you know, I just always thought I would be this like active mom. And, and honestly, right after having
back to back kids, I was not that mom, you know, I found myself, you know, taking the kids to the
playground, so I could sit on the bench or taking the kids somewhere. So I you know, hear kids do this so
that I could sit like you were saying in school was in your feed, because I deserved it, right? Because I
was so tired. And what happens is when you move a little, it really does create more energy. And, and
kids model that too. So you know, if you’re working out your kids are going to see that it’s important and
that you’re moving and that you’re having fun. And they’re going to take that with them and hopefully, you
know, continue to be that way throughout their life. So it’s, it’s important that you’re modeling that
behavior, whether it’s eating your fruits and veggies, it’s also goes to fitness you have to be you can’t just
tell them to do it, you have to show them that it’s important. So I think it’s just finding what your motivation
are, you know, what your motivations are. And for me, it was, you know, being a being a healthy role
model. So that was my motivation. It was like, you know, this is part of taking care of my kids is that I
have to take care of myself, too. So I think I just have to kind of like replay that mantra in my head. Yes.
put it up on the wall.
Right, you can see it.
Know, I love that and I too, you know, my girls are in many dance classes, and they’re in tennis and in
these things. And so, I think for me, I also did not want to be the mom sitting in the you know, the lobby
of the dance studios. So lucky for me our dance studio has adult classes at the same times where the
girls are in classes so I started taking advantage of those and you know, having even maybe been out of
dance for a little while feeling intimidated, but you know, just moving you know, who cares if you’re not
keeping up with the instructor or your teacher you’re moving so pat yourself on the back for that or even
finding another parent when there weren’t classes. I found other parents so instead of you know sitting in
the lobby, just chatting away for an hour which there’s nothing wrong with that either, but why don’t we
chat and walk so we would walk you know the complex where the dance studio was and like a safe a
safe route that you know weren’t gonna get run over anything but because we live in a very, very crazy
area here in Orlando but so you know, just getting out and walking or even the girls at tennis. I started

you know, just taking a basic tennis class myself with the adults just because cuz I wanted to, to kind of
just get myself involved, I think there’s easy ways that you can do that. And, you know, instead of just
sitting for that time period,
yeah, and, you know, when we we are, we’re a Garmin family. And so you know, I have a Garmin, you
know, Tracker, my boys have Garmin juniors, and my husband has them, we’ve been gifted them to my
parents, and so we all have family step challenges, and there is nothing worse than coming in dead last,
you know, consistently. And so, and kids will kids get their steps in, you know, they’re running, they’re
jumping, they’re moving. And, you know, whether they’re, you know, at night, they would be like, you
know, what, who’s winning the step challenge tonight, who’s winning the step challenge would all have to
sink our watches and everything, but that’s enough motivation when your kids, you know, my boys would
be a baseball practice. And so I know, I’m sitting on the bleachers watching baseball, I’m not going to be
get, I’m going to lose that step challenge. So even if, you know, if I’m able to take a walk with another
parent, like you said, and still get that social time in, or, you know, help out, you know, go shag balls, you
know, chase after the balls or, you know, help help pick something up and, you know, do something
around the field, and just finding a way to just stand up and not sit down, for me is definitely a way to just
keep moving. So
awesome. Well, I think, you know, overall, today, a huge takeaway is that we need to stop looking at
exercise as this huge hurdle or this huge mountain, and really, look at fun, easy ways to just move our
bodies and stretch and, and, and look at it differently.
Yeah, I think that was for me, I had to like, you know, as a, I always thought I was an athlete, you know,
growing up playing sports. And so I had this really that preconceived vision of what exercise looked like.
And I think once that shifted for me, then you can find it everywhere.
Exactly. I love it. Well, we will be linking up in the show notes. I know, we talked about a lot of different
things. Today, we’ll link up in the show notes for you guys, if you’re looking for some of the items that we
talked about. We’ll also have a blog post going up by Lesley, written by Lesley and having all kind of
going through all these things. So you can ask questions direct over there on the blog post. So thank you
so much for taking the time to talk to us today. We’ll definitely I feel like there’s more to tackle on this
topic. So hopefully, we can have you back on very soon. Sounds good. Thanks
for having me. So many great
ideas. You
can find Leslie on Twitter, at Elle Daniels, PGH. And make sure you send her a message over there, you
can tweet with her direct. Thank you to everyone listening to today’s episode. You know, we’re really
continuing to grow as a podcast, which is amazing to go through this process with all of you. That also
means that there are families out there who want to get healthy and want to talk about these different
things and understand different ways that they can improve their quality of life. So if you do like the
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visibility so we can continue to create a healthier generation together. And as always, if you want to tweet
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