After the second time in a month when my daughter, Sophia, asked for a note to sit out of gym class, I asked her what was going on. She told me sixth graders were running the mile, and as the slowest one in her class, she was too embarrassed to try again.
No one made fun of her, but she was always one of the last kids to finish while the other kids watched from the bleachers. She's a smart kid, and she likes spending all her time inside, reading and working on the computer. I've tried to limit her screen time to get her outside and moving by having her join the middle school soccer team, but she doesn't have a natural competitive streak so she wasn't really motivated. I even tried to talk to her gym teacher but the coach was dealing with huge class sizes and just didn't have time to give Sophia special attention. I was worried that if I didn't figure out a way to get Sophia interested in being active, it could negatively impact the rest of her life. Instead of telling her to push herself until she gets sick in gym class, I got her a subscription to Aaptiv, an audio workout app for her phone. They have fitness-instructor guided programs for doing workouts, motivating you through runs, teaching you how to stretch and more.
I've been using Aaptiv for a while, including to help me train for the annual charity 5k. The app has been a godsend for staying engaged during cardio training because I lose motivation on the treadmill after 2 minutes of going at it alone. The Top40 music and trainer's encouragement helped me so much, I thought it would work for my daughter too. I had Sophia download the app to her phone, and we browsed together some of the different programs and classes. They add 40 new classes a week, so there's always something new. Sophia wanted to try one that would help her run a mile, and we decided to do it together.
When she got home from school, before doing her homework, the two of us changed into exercise clothes, and then went outside. Sophia put the earbuds into her ear and was pleasantly surprised to find that every program has a soundtrack of music she actually likes. It's not just elevator music; they have all the biggest artists like Cardi B, Sia, and Britney Spears.
So she wouldn't feel self-conscious, I ran on the same track, keeping my eye on her while letting her go at her own pace. I know she's gotten embarrassed in the past when she feels like people are watching her, so the app was a good way for her to get the motivation and pro-tips she needed without having to work with a trainer. The audio instructor was such an expert, that the moment she started to feel a little out of breath from jogging, she was guided to walk. Sophia is a slow runner, but by alternating between jogging and walking, she was able to run faster for shorter bursts of time, which kept her from getting as tired and helped her build stamina.
When we did our lap and made it back home, Sophia found that her favorite band, Pentatonix was the soundtrack to an ab strength workout, so she did it alone in her room. I was so relieved that my daughter, especially at the tricky age of 11, was finding a healthy way to exercise. Three times a week, Sophia and I went for a guided run together, and after two months, she was able to run a mile without stopping for walk breaks!
Sophia's excited to try the mile-run at school again next year, which is a huge improvement from asking me to write her out of class. In the meantime, she's devouring every workout with a Pentatonix playlist they have, and also working on how to do the basics, like a proper push-up. Aaptiv has given me peace of mind that my daughter is going to have fun exercising, and will start the 7th grade on a physically and emotionally healthy track.
Making new friends as an adult can be hard, but we've got a few tips to help expand your social circle
At some point you reach that mythic age known as "adult". Sadly, you discover the ease with which friendships formed when you were younger seems to have escaped you. You might have a group of friends from university or high school, and a few friends from the jobs you've had. But, what are you supposed to do if you want to meet friends now? You could always go back to school, but I'm assuming you don't have 100k and two years of free time?
First, let's examine why it was easier to make friends when you were younger. Sure, cell phones might be the reason you can't make new friends at a bar. But people tend to be looking down on their phone because they either don't want to speak to strangers, or don't know what to say to a stranger if a conversation were to occur. The real reason friendships were easier to make in schoolis you had an initial reason to get to know somebody. You were reading the same book, working on the same problem set, or had the same boss. So with that in mind, let's look at fun, grownup options to have reasons to speak to strangersin the real world, unplugged and off-line.
1. Outdoor workout groups:
There's no limit to the number of workout classes on offer. They can be great for workouts, but not as great for building connections with other class participants. This is because they're designed to create a connection between you and the instructor, not you and the other participants. However, there are a ton of great free workout groups that meet up in public spaces and bang out the workout, and they're usually free. My personal favorite is The Rise. They have chapters in a bunch of cities, and the concept is the same. Volunteers get people together in the morning before work for runs, circuit training, and sometimes Yoga. Trust me, the first time someone challenges you to a no holds barred push up competition, a friendship is formed! Look around though, most cities have some kind of a version of this.
The Rise workout group meets in Prospect Park www.therisenyc.org
2. Interest groups:
This requires a certain amount of self-reflection, but whatever you're into… there's a group for that.. Are you into rock climbing? There's a meetup for that. Do you want to get into rock climbing, or at least pretend to be into rock climbing, or at least go and talk about rock climbing? You can still go! If you're interested in something slightly more intellectual, there are many interest groups you can join in on.. My personal favorite is Young People in Foreign Policy. No, you don't have to be a diplomat to join. Or be particularly young. All you need is strong opinions or be willing to listen to people with strong opinions. Listen to a paneled of informed experts talk about the future of the European Union for an hour, then be handed a glass of wine at the following event.I assure you, you'll be able to make a new friend. (Or a lifelong enemy!)
Chapters across the Globeypfp.org
3. Alumni Clubs:
If you went to college,even if you didn't graduate, you can join an alumni club in your city. What's great about these groups, is they tend to attract people from the 22 year old right of school to the 75 year old who has been coming to these events since the Carter administration. My college, for example, has book clubs, a lecture series, and a general networking event this month alone. Trust me, your school probably has something as well.
Lecture are always followed by mingling and usually winenyc.uchicagoalumni.org
4. Take a Class:
You don't have to go and get an entire masters degree just to recreate the fun of making class friends. Anytime you have a given topic to discuss you're more easily able to make a connection. If you fail, you still learned something. New York City has an ocean of options to choose from but some of the best are offered by the 92nd Street Y.. Want to get less terrible at painting? Find out what Bridge is? Create ceramic art for all of your relatives instead of buying them something. The 92nd Street Y has all that, and potentially new friends to boot.
Did you know you could learn to make botanical leaf prints on silk fabric?
Tired of going out to bars and being just one more person staring at your phone? Stop going to bars, have something to look at other than your next drink.