Get the Grandparents Moving: is it possible?
A few years ago, when at the inagural Sunday Parkways, my parents happened to be visiting us for the weekend. I was determined to bike the route, so I insisted that they join us. I asked them: do you want to walk or bike? My dad, who probably hadn't been on a bike in a good 20 years, agreed to ride. My mom tried in earnest to quickly learn to ride a bike on the sidewalk, but she just couldn't get it. But she tried. She ended up riding on the back of my Xtracycle.
A few weeks ago, again it was Sunday Parkways in our neighborhood. My husband's parents, this time, were visiting. Again, his parents had either never really ridden a bike or hadn't done so in years. His dad rode along with us for a few miles, but really petered out at the end. He was spent. At one point, my husband just took him home, as he feared his dad would buckle over. The exertion seemed too much.
Our kids are most definitely lucky in that they have all four of their grandparents. However, we worry about their health, and what we can do to make them more healthy, more able to spend more time with their grandkids for years to come.
We can't do anything to change their [very sedentary] ways. Or: can we? Whenever they visit us, we walk to the store or to dinner or just take walks around the neighborhood. We push them to continue to walk, even if just around the block, even if just a quarter of a mile to their neighbor. Walking could be such a great way to get fit, to stay fit.
Back in their hometowns, they drive everywhere. There is little reason to be active. There is every reason to settle in front of the TV for hours. Recreation involves eating out.
We don't expect our parents to take cross-country bicycle rides or run marathons (although some people their age do!). We just want them to find a level of fitness and activity that is comfortable for them, in the hopes of extending their lives, increasing their energy levels. Is that too much to ask? If your kids have grandparents in their lives, are they active? Do you worry along these lines? Or, is it futile, as they will be as they are?