<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=610462346045315&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
The Alaska Club

TAC Board: The Alaska Club Blog

How to Role Model Daily Exercise with your Kids

Posted by Megan Olson | Jun 15, 2022 2:05:05 PM

I am a mother to three children, who were all born within three years (2006-2009). I was in “advanced maternal age” when I had my first baby, so my husband and I went for it and had two more without thinking about it because we didn’t have time to waste. Parenthood is amazing in all the ways everyone promised it would be, except it isn’t always amazing for the workout routine! I am happy to share some strategies I employed to survive and stay in sort-of “good” shape and sane…. And also share some of my favorite moments doing events with my kids.

When my kids were babies, the best way to get them to nap was to plunk them in the baby jogger and go for a walk or run with them. They contentedly snoozed while I got some much-needed steps. This worked great for the few months that I only had one baby. However, adding one and then another quickly into the mix made it more complicated. They don’t always sleep at the same time, and once they are old enough to realize they can poke baby brother or sister in the eye or ear and get a reaction, it’s game over. Ultimately, it has always been important to me that we exercise as a family and set a good example as parents to prioritize daily exercise. It shouldn’t feel like drudgery and should be joyful and fun (within reason).


Having a gym nearby that offers childcare is a huge advantage. I loved going to The Alaska Club when my kids were little because I knew they would be well taken care of right there on-site, and I could get a little “me” time. I love taking group fitness classes, so it would work out perfectly for me to do a cycle class or a Group Power class and follow it up with a sauna or steam. The kids had a ball and truly looked forward to it, which kept me motivated to keep going. I’ll be honest, during the long, dark winter months, a couple of hours at The Alaska Club felt like a vacation. Same benefits, no travel hassles.


The first time I ran the AK Run for Women with my daughter, Lucy, was in 2015, when she was not even quite 6. I brought the baby jogger and mostly carried her that way, but about a mile from the finish, she said, “Mama, can I run now?” I was also running that race with a dear friend, so after I took Lucy out of the stroller, we ran hand in hand with Lucy in the middle across the finish line. Seeing the joy on Lucy’s face having crossed the finish line was amazing. She loved it and loved that we did it together. We wore signs that we were running in celebration of my mom’s breast cancer survival 20 years prior.


In 2019, when Lucy turned 10 yrs old, we signed up as a mother-daughter team for the Gold Nugget Triathlon. We trained together to ensure we could do all the distances, but of course, the trick would be to do them all consecutively. We committed to sticking together, and that year, I waited a little bit for Lucy to finish the swim and offered her a lot of encouragement on the bike, and then had to wipe a few tears away during the running leg, which for us that year was mostly a walk. Nonetheless, we crossed the finish line together, and I will never forget the triumphant look on Lucy’s face when she crossed the finish line that day. It brought tears to my eyes; she had completed her first Gold Nugget.


Fast forward to 2022 (past the pandemic years), and Lucy and I signed up again as a mother-daughter team for the Gold Nugget. Lucy is now 12, almost 13. We had such fond memories of the support, the comradery, and the celebration of the Gold Nugget that we were looking forward to another great day with thousands of amazing women all pulling in the same direction. We were less nervous and more excited, and we’d done less training, which is not advisable. We knew we’d have a good workout, feel love and support from our whole community of goal-oriented women, and commit to each other to stick together and, no matter what, to have fun. Fun took precedence over any aspirations for a particular race time. This time, I gasped for air at the end of the swim only to see my daughter waiting for me on the side of the pool, already finished. Then alongside me, every pedal stroke on the bike happily joking with me about my outfit, and finally, on the run, we fell into step with one another and ran side by side the entire way, grabbing water and snacks from the awesome race sponsors. We finished again this year hand-in-hand, and I had tears streaming down my face. Lucy is strong and capable, and though we weren’t in it to win it, Lucy turned to me at the finish after looking at her watch and said, “Mom, we did soo much better than the last time!” It’s true we had taken 45 mins off our last time, which is understandable after three years during which Lucy got faster, and I have gotten slower. I don’t know if we’ll be a mother-daughter team next year, but I know we’ll participate. Lucy has come to love the experience of racing, thanks to participation in so many community runs, and she has steadily improved her fitness and strength. I am proud to have exposed her to community events like the Run for Women and the Gold Nugget Triathlon because she now considers participation in those to be expected and as a chance to challenge herself not to win necessarily, but to consistently push her own limits whatever those are and to get better and better.


These kinds of opportunities make me love our Alaska communities because there are similar events all across the state. If you are looking for motivation this summer, register yourself and your family members for one of the fun athletic events around town. Doing so is good for your health and also important role modeling for your entire family. Be the inspiration for better health!




Topics: Gym and Health Club Exercises, Community Events, family fun, healthy living, exercise, family fitness, healthy kids, healthy lifestyles

Written by Megan Olson

Megan Olson moved to Alaska in 2001 and fell in love with Alaska. She is married to Brad Olson and has three amazing kids: Gus (15), Henry (14) and Lucy (12). She is an executive communication leader and served as Vice Chancellor for University Advancement UAA. Megan recently "retired" from her position at UAA to spend more time with her family. Megan enjoys running in the mountains with friends in her spare time, reading, and cooking/entertaining.

Subscribe to this blog

Recent Posts


see all