Why Being Active With Your Mom (or Your Kids) Is the Ultimate Bonding Activity

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You never miss a workout with your sweat sister (AKA your fellow workout-loving BFF), but if you've never thought to use exercise as a bonding moment with your IRL fam, you're missing out.

Heidi Kristoffer—founder of cardio-based yoga class CrossFlowX and mom of three kiddos under three years old—knows firsthand the power of using movement as a moment for connection.

"A workout or a long walk every day has always been part of our family," she says. "I think being active together is fantastic, because it opens up dialogue and allows for similar experiences to talk about."

"Being active opens up dialogue and allows for similar experiences to talk about."

Chatting after class is half the reason you work out with your friends anyway (let's be honest), so coupling those post-workout endorphins with some quality family time is pretty much guaranteed to bring you closer—whether you're hanging out with your own mom, or getting active with your kids.

That's why this Mother's Day, Kristoffer is making a point to spend time moving with her mom—an example that speaks volumes to her own kids.

"[My mom] has dedicated her life to being the most nurturing, caring, loving mom, wife, and grandmother imaginable," she says. "On Mother's Day, we typically try to get as many of my siblings and our kids together for a brunch or nice meal, and usually all go for a nice long walk along the water afterwards."

In the spirit of celebrating inspirational moms everywhere, Athleta is encouraging you to give her flowers—pretty floral leggings, that is (although feel free to throw in a bouquet as well). It's basically a short cut to making any mom feel beautiful, appreciated, and like the rockstar she is. Plus, wearing matching leggings with your mini-me is the ultimate #twinning experience.

Scroll down for three ideas for adding activity to your mother-daughter moments. Plus, shop for activewear essentials perfect for Mother's Day gifting.

athleta mother's day

1. Yoga

Because it can vary in intensity from gentle and restorative to a hot vinyasa style, Kristoffer suggests yoga because it can work for many fitness levels (you can do cat-cow with a five year old or a 65 year old).

"Restorative yoga always feels great, and sometimes you can get in positions that look ridiculous, so it’s always fun to have someone to giggle with," she says.

Kristoffer personally uses yoga as a bonding activity with her two-year-old twin daughters, who try to copy her poses with their own mini yoga mats and blocks (how adorable is that visual?).

"Having them climb on top of me in any pose they can only adds to the physical challenge for me, and ups the fun quotient beyond measure," she says. "They can see how much I love it, and they love it too. How wonderful for my children to get to see physical activity as a treat and bonding experience, and not as something they think they should or have to do."

athleta mother's day

2. Walking

Kristoffer's favorite form of together activity is the simplest: Just go for a walk. "Long walks where you can get mother-daughter talk time in are the absolute best," she says. "Start there!"

Her family never misses a post-dinner walk—during the summer along the beach and even on super cold winter days—and walking and talking have been the source of some really special memories. "My mom gives the best advice," she says. "I will never be able to listen to her enough."

So why not start that tradition with your own children? Even if it's just a stroll around the block, getting moving together (and stepping away from the TV or computer) creates an opportunity for conversation that can turn into great bonding moments.

athleta mother's day

3. Something new

Trying a new method or at-home workout is always more fun with a buddy, but one of the most important things about suggesting exercise as a mother-daughter activity is respecting everyone's physical and mental limits, Kristoffer says.

"And, if you are the mom, also understand your children’s limitations, their attention span at any given age, and physical capabilities," she says. "Always set people up for success." Basically, just because it's your favorite exercise doesn't mean it's necessarily a good idea to bring mom (or your daughter) along. 

But if your mom is down for something more intense, go for it. "A good shared sweat is always a great bonding experience," Kristoffer says. "Even better if you can catch each other’s eye and cheer each other on!"

In partnership with Athleta

Photos: Athleta

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