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How Did Your Dad Affect Your Fitness?

Written on June 17, 2011 at 11:44 am , by

Parents Beth and Keith stay fit with their kids. (Photo by Sarah Kehoe)

For Father’s Day this Sunday, we asked over at Facebook how dad helped us get healthier and inspired us to stay fit. Here are some of our favorite responses:

  • “Dad taught me how to play tennis—hours of hitting against a garage door ‘backboard.’ Now, at age 70+, he competes with me every year in a tennis tournament up in Maine where he retired. Priceless!” —Margaret Williams Blount
  • “I remember when I was younger he used to go to the gym, weight train and ran a few marathons. I was too young to participate in things like that at the time. Now that I’m older, I’m the one cracking the whip FOR HIM to get moving! I love him and I want him around for quite a bit longer.”  — Erika Bernd
  • “Any sport I was in, my dad was there, cheering me on. Cheerleading competition? Dad was there, cheering me on. Track meet? Dad was there. Pictures, videos, the whole nine yards. My dad is an amazing man and role model. He played football in high school and University and he still walks everyday and sails occasionally. My fitness hero.” — Julie Doss Becker
  • “Sports weren’t very popular for girls when I was growing up, but Daddy didn’t care and always helped me to participate in whatever I wanted to. There were no cleats for girls, or girl ballgloves, no softball helmets with a hole for a ponytail, or even girl softball uniforms. We wore the boys’ stuff. At an impromptu softball practice on a city field  long ago, we were shooed away by nearby neighborhood boys wanting the field. Daddy piped up to the girls and the moms around, ‘Hey, we’re not gonna let those boys treat us girls that way!’ And we didn’t budge. He was always one of the girls.” — Kristie Sharp Williams
  • “My Father just passed away last month. Although we didn’t work out together, he did pass on his love for gardening to me. I love that he wanted nothing but healthy, organic foods for his family. I am now raising my family to be active and enjoy ‘real’ and organic foods. My kids love to garden with me just their Grandpa!” — Leaann Haley Hoffman
  • “My dad passed away many years ago. At the time he was so active, he was called an ‘exercise nut’. He passed on his love of exercise to me and there are many times when I’ve done something physically challenging, I think how proud he would be of my accomplishment. Thanks, Dad.”— Lynn Olmsted

Happy Father’s Day from the FITNESS team! Thanks to all the dads who’ve become fitness inspirations and role models!

Now tell us: How did your dad affect your fit lifestyle today?

  • Katy

    My dad always allowed us to be kids growing up. They did not make us get jobs and they encouraged sports. Both my brothers, my sister & I were on the swim team every summer and once in high school, on the school swim team. Dad & Mom puposefully bought a house with a pool so we could learn to swim. I acctually swam in the very first TAAF (Texas Amator Athletic Association) State Swim Meet. Today I am fighting my weight and happily I am winning the battle. I send my dad my weight every Monday when I weight in at Weight Watchers and he is very much my cheerleader whether the numbers that week are good or bad.

  • http://brooklynberryruns.blogspot.com/ Kerry Gaertner

    There are many reasons I am inspired to run the New York City Marathon but the biggest reason, without question, without doubt is my DAD. I just finished an 8 mile training run in my hometown which is, incidentally, my dad’s as well. Neither of us live here anymore. To me, my dad is THE runner. For father’s day, I think a post dedicated to my dad is more than appropriate. Many memories of my dad as a child are of him running. We would go watch him in races or he’d be off with his best friend on weekend mornings, running 12-15 miles like it was no big deal. We had hundreds, and I mean HUNDREDS of race t-shirts that my brother and I would wear for pajamas.

    My dad was running before running was cool. He started as a young teenager in the 1960s, commuting from Long Island into Queens for school. He said at the time running was “very popular in NYC. Not as big on LI. People thought a 14 year old running 10 miles was nuts. Especially one commuting 2 1/2 hours a day to HS in NYC.” Until now I thought his love of running was natural, but not so. The only reason he joined the track team was because he was (in his words) “not good enough for baseball/basketball.” Ha!

    Back in the 60s, they didn’t have the gear we’d have now. My dad scoffed recently when I mentioned I was thinking of getting a heart monitor. His idea of marathon training is to get out there and just RUN (This attitude extends to many other areas of his life. A trait I seem to have inherited, for better or for worse – “pros play hurt” is a classic line). As I struggle to find the perfect pair of sneakers to train in, my dad told me about the options back then – “Canvas and rubber flats. Spikes for outdoor track. Adidas, Puma and Onitsuka/Tiger big. No Nike/Asics etc.”

    I never knew what my dad’s best moment running was. I knew he had run several marathons and recently had to give running up altogether because of tendinitis (he went down fighting, spending several weeks in a cast just to immobilize his Achilles). He’s biking now though. But dad’s greatest moment was in college, where he ran track, playing hurt (keeping out his name here) —

    1972- We finished 1-2-3 in the indoor 1,000 yard run at the NYC college championship to turn things around. Inspired team to win meet despite poor first day showing/being underdogs. I finished 3rd of the three guys from my school running with a stress fracture. Great victory lap for the three of us. Very exciting. The whole team went nuts!

    Later in my life my dad did quite a lot of work with a fantastic charity organization in NYC that helped children in need. I learned to help others from him too.

    Dad, you are quite an inspiration to me as well. You been dedicated to running, even when hurt, since you were a kid. Now you are living your dream on the other side of the world, making a move that most people would be terrified to do. I am proud to be your daughter. You inspire me to challenge myself, pursue my dreams and always help others in the process.

    (pic on the blog)

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