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Jul 09, 2013

Staying Fit as a Family with CardioSmart

A family in Maryland uses CardioSmart's online incentive program to track activity and keep motivation high.

From our booth at Washington’s Bike to Work Day celebration, CardioSmart greeted several hundred riders with educational materials and goodies such as reflective armbands. Among all of the riders the CardioSmart team met at the Georgetown Pit Stop, Felix Fischer stood out.

Fischer, who works in Washington, was participating in Bike to Work Day with his daughter Juliette, 10, and son Luc, 9. The trio first started biking together three years ago, using a tandem bike and a tag-on.

“Now that they're older, we go with the tandem and one individual bike. When we're halfway to their school, Luc and Juliette switch,” says Felix.

“Since Bike to Work Day, we’ve ridden together almost every day.”

The Fischers were drawn to CardioSmart’s booth by a poster promoting the May Bike Riding Challenge and its prize, a brand new bicycle. Since that initial connection, however, Felix and his children have become active CardioSmart users. They’ve participated in challenges together and used the site to track important health measurements such as BMI.

With June being Men’s Health Month, CardioSmart contacted Felix to discuss, among other things, how he stays healthy, why exercising is important to him, and what it feels like to make an active lifestyle a family affair. Here are some of the highlights from the chat:

How did you learn about CardioSmart?

I bumped into your booth at Bike to Work Day when I was with my kids. We were going from one stand to the other, but it was at your booth that we learned about the possibility of winning a bicycle. Each day of biking would mean another entry for the raffle. Naturally, the kids got very excited about biking every day for the rest of the month.

How do you stay fit?

It's important to exercise as a routine. When I have stress at work, scheduled sports are usually the first to be sacrificed. But by commuting to work by bike, it's a solution. I bike my 18 miles every day to keep me healthy. I also go and play squash when I can.

What's it been like exercising with your kids?

The first mile-and-a-half, I'm a very nervous father because of the traffic on the road we start from. But once we're on the trail, it's beautiful. We're singing, we're laughing, just really enjoying our time together. I'm always going to remember this time we spent together and I think they will too. I hope they will become as addicted to biking as I am and that they'll carry on one day when I don't ask for it. I hope it's a habit they'll keep individually.

How have you gotten your kids so interested?

The incentives really help. My son is really looking forward to earning the hydration pack one day (laughs).

If you find something you can do regularly and make a habit of, it makes it much easier. If you have a dog, the whole family can walk or run together in the morning or at night. Whatever you do, the kids should be excited about it and have fun. Something as easy as buying them a running outfit can get them excited and looking forward to doing the activity. I've done that with my kids. We also vary it, so in addition to biking, we'll go swimming or play badminton.

And you can combine fun things, like going for ice cream, with exercise. I've told my kids before, "Let's go for a run and everyone gets ice cream for a prize."

What do you like most or find most helpful about CardioSmart?

I've been browsing the site about different health issues and reading some of the information on food and nutrition. As for the kids, it keeps them motivated. They want to earn their 10 points every day, whether it's biking or swimming or whatever.


Note: As part of its promotional plan for the May Bike Riding Challenge, CardioSmart participated in Washington's National Bike to Work Day celebration on May 17. Here is a video from the Georgetown Pit Stop, where CardioSmart was a sponsor:

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