Every Monday, more or less, I race to New York City's Grand Central Station from our offices here in Astor Place to meet my mother at her midtown fitness club. Together, we talk about the week as we lace up white-soled shoes, grab rackets and head upstairs to play an hour of squash.
My mom and I play the game for an hour -- and we love it.
Revealing this to my friends, one incredulously asked if I was enacting some strange Woody Allen-era 1970s New York nostalgia. And while it's true that squash isn't exactly the hot new sport among 20-something New Yorkers, I find it's a wonderful stress reliever with a pace that keeps me engaged and fit, while also allowing for some conversation.
But the reason I'm sharing my weekly squash habit has less to do with the racquet sport's health benefits (of which there are many!) and more to do with my partner. Although we haven't historically bonded over sports as a family (we're talkers), my mom and I have found squash is a good way for us to stay connected. We talk about family matters, professional dilemmas and triumphs -- even celebrity gossip. But we happen to be whipping a tiny rubber ball around the room while we do it.
It got me thinking: 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. (With my tiny sample of N = 2, I can corroborate this: we are making great strides in our backhands and drop shots.)
I feel incredibly fortunate to have this time with my mother, but I doubt I'm the only one who spends time sweating it out with Mom. How many children out there have the opportunity to bond with their parents over physical fitness?
Have you run a 10K with your mother? Or played pick-up basketball in the driveway as a duo? This Mother's Day, we want to celebrate all moms -- but particularly the ones who get us moving. Tell us about your sporty hang-out sessions -- leave a comment, email HealthyLiving@huffingtonpost.com or tweet us @HealthyLiving. We'd love to see pictures! And on or around Mother's Day this year, we'll put together some of your stories.
Follow Meredith Melnick on Twitter: www.twitter.com/meredithcm