Last week, our fitness editor, Meredith Melnick, wrote about her weekly squash games with her mother. In it she explained why they aren't just a regular trip to the gym:
If my mom and I weren't in good shape, we would have a completely different relationship. Experts believe that exercising with a loved one can strengthen the relationship, even as it strengthens your glutes. And people who exercise a deux stick with their fitness routines for longer and achieve greater mastery of them.
Based on the response, we realized that exercising as a mother-daughter duo wasn't so unusual. Readers, fitness professionals and contributors alike wrote in to describe the feelings of great satisfaction they had as they spent active time with a mother, child or grandchild.
"We have had thousands of conversations -- laughing and sharing stories of our days: present and remembering those of years past. Many problems have been solved and many ideas created as we walk those familiar steps," wrote reader Beth Kar.
Agrees contributor Leeza Erfeso, "My mother is my inspiration, she's instilled in me a life of fitness. Most importantly, she's shown me that age really is a number."
But exercising with mom isn't just a good way to bond -- it's also a good way to get in shape. Working out with a loved one can improve your chance of reaching a fitness goal, according to research on fitness motivation. And studies of family behavior show that children with active parents are more than five times more likely to be active in their lives as the kids of sedentary parents.
So this Mother's Day, if you can, take a walk, run or bike ride with your mum. Thank her for including you in her fitness routine, for keeping the bond strong and, in the immortal words of mid-90s rap sensations, Salt n' Pepa, you'd "better thank your mother for a butt like that."
Here are more of your inspiring stories below. And be sure to contribute your own!
While we don't live in the same town, we do make an effort to go to spin class or take a run together whenever we meet up... but since she's a triathlete who competes in world championship events, I typically end up gasping for air as she does all the talking. :) It works for us.
My mother and I have always had a strong bond and connection through dance and fitness. I was three years old when she signed me up for my first ballet class. Many recitals later I found myself dancing professionally. She has attended every opening and even traveled to Japan to see me perform. <br><br> When Jennifer Maanavi and I opened Physique 57, she was one of our first clients. Since then she has dropped four dress sizes by attending our classes and doing our DVDs. I'm so proud of her and lucky to have her as my biggest fan and mother! <br><br> <em>Tanya Becker is the co-founder of Physique 57, a boutique exercise studio in New York and Los Angeles</em>
In the mid 80s, my family moved to a new city. I was a young teenager and one of the things that helped me through the transition was starting to run with my Mom every day. It started out running a few blocks and progressed to several miles. Even when I ran in middle school and high school, I would run after practice with Mom. In 1985 we ran the Old Kent River Bank Run 25K together. (We even ended up having our picture taken.) In college she ran my first marathon with me. <br><br> Continued ...
After college, I moved away to a new city and a new job. My parents retired to Missouri. In 2001 my husband and I had the opportunity through my job to moved to the same city. Since our move, Mom and I walk every day. It felt no time had elapsed since our runs of yesteryear. I have recently started running again but I always make sure I still take time to walk with Mom. We have had thousands of conversations -- laughing and sharing stories of our days: present and remembering those of years past. Many problems have been solved and many ideas created as we walk those familiar steps. Now I am a Mom too. I plan to pass onto my son this tradition of being a fit parent and cherishing time with loved ones. After all, I had the best teacher.
My mother is my workout inspiration (she is a certified personal trainer). At close to 60 years old she has a better body than most women her age and, let's face it, than most women at any age! Every Sunday without fail we spend two hours working out at the gym. We lift weights (360 pounds on the Angle Leg Press), do plyometrics, and finish with a two mile run. We spend it as a day to not only work ourselves out but to catch up and reconnect over things that happened during the previous week. <br><br> My mother is my inspiration, she's instilled in me a life of fitness. Most importantly, she shown me that age really is a number. <br><br> Here's my mom doing her thing, putting me to shame.
My mother and I are runners. We run when it is hot, we run when it's cold, we even run when it's windy and rainy. But most importantly, we run together. We share our day: the highlights, the low points and all the in-betweens. <br><br> We have always shared our workouts together. Before running it was weight lifting in the gym. We started running a year and a half ago after seeing a sign for a half marathon training program. I've always had asthma and never thought I would be able to run. My mother was a former smoker. We started running in November 2010 and ran our first half marathon in March of 2011 and our second in December. We plan on running two more this year. I lost my father to lung cancer 10 years ago. Every day and every run with my mother I cherish more, simply because I know what it is like to lose a parent young. It's a time everyday I know I get to spend with her and I know it contributes to both our health! <br><br> My mother just turned 63. I am amazed daily at what she can do, how she looks and most importantly how much I love her!
I am mom to a 16-year-old girl, to whom I look like a big sister, and not because of over-exercising or resorting to cosmetic surgery, or wanting to compete with her; just because I lead a healthy life in many senses. I want to leave her a legacy of health and fitness, among a lot of other stuff. Hitting the gym with her is a bit difficult, because of the "embarrassment factor," but we've done it a few times and hope to do it in the future as she grows up.
My mom lives too far away for me to work out with her. I maybe get to see her once a year. So instead I have my mother-in-law who I get along wonderfully with. We go hiking and shopping together and we garden together as well. It is great to be able to do something with her that we both enjoy and we get along so well to the surprise of many people who have the stereotypical relationship with their mother-in-laws.
My mom was a nurse (she worked as Head Nurse at Rusk at NYU), so she definitely has inspired me to be as active as possible for as long as I can remember. Besides taking Soul Cycle in NYC together (and FlyWheel in Boca), we take annual trips to Canyon Ranch. Can't wait for my daughter Liv to join us soon! <br><br> <em>Blake Brody is the founder of Blake Brody In-Studio Footwear</em>
I am blessed to live in the same city as my sons and daughter-in-law. We love exercising together on a very regular basis! Not only is it fun, all four of us are in great shape!
I love that my mom and I share figure skating. We get together several times a year in Sun Valley and skate outside under the stars. When we are on the ice together I feel seven again ... we laugh, share ideas and connect.
Most people who have met my mom will tell you that she does not look her age. While she definitely has good genes (hopefully bestowed to me!), it can also be attributed to many years of being active. Whether playing tennis, taking step classes (circa 1990), and, over the past 10 years or so, becoming a spin fanatic (this part, I take credit for!), she is always on her feet and on the go. With two young children, I now find myself balancing motherhood with staying active just as she does. Although I am a runner, I am also a class junkie. <br><br> I still remember taking my first group fitness class was with my mom when I was in high school -- none other than a Lucille Roberts all-female step class. Thinking about our outfits and those workouts together brings a smile to my face. Fast forward 20 years, and now our jazzy workout gear is replaced by something a bit more refined (thank you, Lululemon) and the class is an intense spin class. Today our routine is simple: We take each other to our favorite instructor's classes, grab a coffee and get back to the family. Call it bonding, call it staying fit -- either way, it's one of my favorite things to do with my mom.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Htsssy"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1230887241/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Htsssy">Htsssy</a>:<br />My mother and I for a long time had differences that split us apart. As I matured our relationship grew closer. I very much look up to her and her healthy habits. My whole life I have watched her strive towards something better. She still strives to be a better person, employee, and mother. We enjoy extreme sports together as often as possible. She is my hero and I enjoy spending each day with her.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Alyssa9986"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Alyssa9986">Alyssa9986</a>:<br />My mother is one of the most resilient, loving, and charming people anyone could ever meet. She has taught me from a very young age that being active and eating healthy are the best gifts you can ever give yourself.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/JenniferHughes"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/840769473/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/JenniferHughes">JenniferHughes</a>:<br />For several years, mom and daughter have participated in this triathlon on mother's day.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fundine"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fundine">fundine</a>:<br />A family that plays together, stays together! Enjoying the great outdoors together in the Northwest was just part of growing up. She was on ski patrol during my ski racing days. We camped, backpacked, biked, and swam at the lake. Now a well traveled 29 year old, I've come to realize my favorite trips have been with my Mom: backpacking the 211 mile John Muir Trail and Glacier National Park, Cycling the Bahamas and Florida Keys. We talk make plans and work through problems together while we huff and puff. I want my future family to be like ours, happy and healthy. I call her my 'IRONMOM' even though she hasn't done a triathlon... yet. ;-)