I recently had the pleasure of meeting an amazing family and I was so impressed with their active lifestyle that I had to do a short feature about them.

I first met Dianne and Megan Sandy in May at an event my husband and I produce called the Fear the Deer trail 1/2 marathon.  The event’s claim to fame is its 2800 foot elevation gain over very rocky terrain in the 13.1 mile course.
We always do fun awards at our events including the youngest and oldest runner awards.
This year our youngest runner was Megan, who finished this beast of an event at the tender age of 12.   She finished the brutal course in under 3 hours (average finishing time is around 2:40) which is amazing considering this was her first half marathon and she had a bad cold to boot!
megan FTD family

Megan with world champion sky runner and first place female finisher Stevie Krammer

I couldn’t have been more impressed with Megan that day and the amazing parents who encouraged her to train and compete in this event.  After all, my favorite sport is trail running and I dream of the days my boys and I can hit the trails and race together.
So I just had to find out how they did it.  How did they raise this amazing daughter who willingly took on and conquered this tough course?  The more I learned about this family, the more impressed I became.
Dianne is also a yoga instructor and so I met her at her studio, the Yoga Pod in South Denver, to take her class and learn more about the family.   I was surprised to see that Megan and her younger sister Jessie (age 11) would also be joining the class and completed many of the more advanced poses throughout class without breaking a sweat.
The Sandy family has 3 children, Jacob- age 9, Megan- age 12 and Jessie- age 11. It turns out every family member has tried out or currently participates in every sport imaginable, just to name a few:  Soccer, basketball, swimming, gymnastics, running, mnt biking, and tennis.  Skiing is the families favorite sport by far.  All the kids have been skiing since the age of 1 and they go regularly throughout the winter.
The mother and daughter duo have been going on regular trail runs together since Megan was just 10 years old.
Megan also earned 4th place in a recent community 5K (not in her age group, overall!).
So read on and take some notes, I think we could all learn from this amazing family that encourages trying new things, gets outside and active together!

dianne family ski

So Dianne, you’ve had 3 kids and managed to stay in amazing shape.  Did you stay active through your pregnancies?  If so, what activities did you do and for how long?

I stayed very active throughout all of my pregnancies. Unfortunately, I didn’t find yoga until after my 3rd child was born but can only imagine how amazing it would be to practice yoga during pregnancies.  I ran, biked and skied.  I continued throughout but just decreased intensity and length.  I think I stopped biking when a family of 5 passed me on an uphill:)

 

I love how you practice yoga with your kids, any tips for parents interested in practicing at home and incorporating their kids?

If parents want to practice yoga at home, they can invest in several videos.  I have my favorites.  Baron Baptiste has some great power vinyasa videos.  If kids are in the room while their parents are practicing, what tends to happen is they just follow along and often master the pose with their willingness to try anything and allowing their curiosity to soar.
I know my 2 year old nephew does down dog while raising a leg as he watches his mom.  Yoga Download is another way to download classes from amazing teachers for any style you want.
If parents have some experience with yoga, there are several free podcasts available from iTunes.  You can just listen and flow.
Depending on the age of the kids, I believe they can benefit from all of the poses we are practicing.  Inversions and arm balances are so fun and playful, especially crow and handstand.  Other favorites are a seated posture or standing posture (tadasana) with eyes closed to get them to breathe and presence themselves.  Balancing postures are also great for grounding and is usually a fun challenge.  These include eagle, dancer’s and tree (pictured below)
yoga kids

Tree pose

 

I feel like yoga programs for kids is something that is becoming more popular.   Are there any health/behavioral benefits for kids that practice yoga?


If only I had an hour to answer this question!  The list goes on and on and for each child it can be different, but here are a few:

Grounding, confidence, peace of mind, learning to use breath as a tool to create a calming in their minds and bodies, self-acceptance, less judging and more accepting of themselves and others, compassion and kindness, better balance, strength and flexibility, core strength, feelings of power and strength,empowerment, healing emotions, meditation, posture(standing up taller), awareness, better concentration, focus for life, sports, etc……..

 

dianne family
Dianne, what advice do you have for busy parents who want to continue to lead an active lifestyle after having kids?
Do what you love to do, the time spent being an active role model for your kids is more important than a clean house. Also don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t do something your yourself and getting buried in the guilt associated with it.  Ask for help!
When you are on an airplane the flight attendants always stress that if you should put the oxygen mask on yourself first.   If you take care of yourself you will better be able to take care of your kids.  They will see that and model your behavior.

My husband and I met in college and we mountain biked, road biked, skied, played recreational soccer, frisbee, coed floor hockey and even ran the Pikes Peak 1/2  marathon together.  After having kids we found a way to trade off to give each other an opportunity to continue our favorite activities when the kids were young, and now we do them all as a family.  We’ve found over the years that there is no perfect balance, only balance in the moment.

Any tips for parents who want to get their kids into outdoor sports who maybe have kids who are resistant/afraid?
Any what benefits have you seen firsthand from leading an active lifestyle with your kids?

Don’t enable your children.  Make more of an assumptive attitude of “we’re going hiking….do you need help getting your shoes on…”.

Also make it fun by involving friends and family or as an opportunity to have some alone time with a parent.  They love that one on one attention.
People tell us that our children are well rounded and are open to trying everything.  They’re not afraid to try something new.  I see confidence, passion, excitement, dedication and commitment, making goals, working hard, and mental toughness in all my children as they enjoy and compete in outdoor activities and team sports.

Thanks Sandy family for sharing your story and keep up the inspiration!

Do you want to share how your family stays active together?
We’d love to hear how you camp, backpack, rock climb and travel with your kids.
Shoot an email to: info@runningwithkids.com
We’d love to tell your story!
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