Transcript: Grand Central® Radio Episode No. 11

GRAND CENTRAL® RADIO EPISODE NO. 11: EXERCISING WITH GRANDCHILDREN FOR ENERGY, STRENGTH, AND MENTAL HEALTH

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Geri: Welcome to Grand Central® Radio, the grandparents’ community platform. I’m your host, Geri Cole. This is a talk, listen, and act show for grandparents, future grandparents, and others in the role of grandparent everywhere. My adult child, that child’s spouse and in-laws, and my grandchildren give me lots of questions and concerns. Like you, I want to be as effective for my grandkids and their parents as possible. To achieve these goals, I also want to stay physically and mentally fit and have fun. We can help each other by sharing our challenges and ideas about grandparenting and our lives as grandparents. You can replay our shows, find stories and songs to hear or read aloud, lists–including The Ultimate Grandparents’ Emergency  Babysitting Checklist and Sitter’s Memorandum form, and a list of movies  about grandparents’ relationships–and other materials curated especially for grandparents, and contact me, Geri Cole, on our secure website,  grandcentralradio.com or at geri.cole@grandcentralradio.com. If you would like to participate in the recording of one or more of our future podcast episodes, or if you suggest a possible sponsor of our shows or website, please email our shows’ producer at info@grandcentralradio.com.

As I said, our goals as grandparents and others in the role of grandparenting include staying physically and mentally fit and having fun. We also want to help the children in our charge to do so. Our discussion topic today is “Exercising With Grandchildren for Energy, Strength, and Mental Health.” 

Our special guest is Dr. Laurel Mines, a dedicated physical therapist, mental performance coach, educator, and public speaker. Dr. Mines holds a Doctor of Physical Therapy from MGH Institute of Health Professions, founded by Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts, and PT and DPT OCS designations. She is a Teaching Specialist at Stanford University  in  California, an Advisor and Physical Therapist, a Training Leader, and a  management member of organizations in California focused on: personal and professional growth, training and development; athletes’ physical and mental  performance and rehabilitation; high school student athlete and general community mental health programs; neuroscience-based continuing education and  certification for physical therapists; online courses and group coaching  programs; and, of course, physical therapy. Her mission is changing delivery of healthcare, nationally and globally. 

You will hear on this podcast Dr. Mines’ personal, professional views on this topic. These views do not constitute the views of any of her employers, businesses, or publishers, or any medical, mental health, or other professional advice by Dr. Mines, me, or Grand Central® Radio. We urge all listeners to discuss with their medical, mental health, and other advisors and counselors their concerns and difficulties that may require professional intervention. 

Dr. Mines, thank you for joining us on Grand Central® Radio!

Dr. Mines: Thank you, Geri, for having me today. I’m really excited about our conversation. 

Geri: Great. And we have a couple of people who I understand are going be calling in any second to participate in that conversation. Dr. Mines, I understand that your undergraduate degrees from the University of North Carolina were in biology and mathematics. When, why, and how did you decide to devote your career to physical therapy and mental health?

Dr. Mines: I get this question a lot, and in undergrad, I was a biology major and wanted, I was thinking I wanted to go to medical school, but after doing the coursework and exploring that career, it just didn’t feel like it was the right choice for me and didn’t sit right. I’ve always been active. I grew up being active. I played sports in high school. I still like the medical professional aspect of it. The physical therapy was a perfect combination of my active lifestyle and being in healthcare and in health and wellness. It’s been really a great career decision for me. So, we pivot a little bit to the mental health. After I graduated graduate school with my Doctor of Physical Therapy, I did an internship where I did it like a really deep dive into pain science. And I discovered that pain was an experience. And it was just as much a mental and emotional experience as it was a physical experience. I got some really good tools to coach people around their mental and emotional experience of their pain, which helped them to overcome their physical experience of their pain. The mental and physical experience when I helped people with both of that made really tremendous impacts in the quality of people’s lives getting out of chronic pain cycles and being really free. And so that’s when I added this mental health to the physical therapy, and that was about 13 years ago now.

Geri: Well, you have a remarkable ecumenical approach to the concept of physical therapy. It isn’t just one direct area. It’s a really broad area of coverage. Based on your experience as a physical therapist with clients of a wide range of ages, what are the main differences between safe and effective exercising for people at those various ages, from newborn to octogenarian, and what factors affect your recommendations at each age?

Dr. Mines: We have to take the different ages and what contributes to the different ages as we treat the client through that lifespan. So, when we look at the young athlete or young kid, when we’re treating them, we have to take into account that they’re growing, they’re developing, they’re changing, they’re changing very rapidly. So, there’s a lot of things that we have to take into account with this growing individual, which is obviously different than our adults or our older populations, right? And then when we get into our women and our mental health and our middle age and perimenopausal, and we have to take into other considerations like bone mineral density and strength and different changes that are associated with the changes that are happening in different periods of life. And then when we look at our older adults, we look at keeping their bone health, minimizing injuries associated with things like falls. We look at: Our bodies aren’t as mobile and they’re not as hydrated. So, we have to take into consideration that our joints and our bodies just aren’t as mobile. So, it really changes our treatment. Maybe we’re doing a little more flexibility and movement along with the strengthening. So, there’s definitely different things through our lifespan that we have to take into account, treating each individual. Treating the individual, we look at the age, but we look at so many factors, and I give a very individualized approach when I’m treating the client in front of me. 

Geri: Applying those concepts and those analyses to our topic for today, which is exercising with grandchildren, and we know, of course, that grandparents and people in the role of grandparents can be of a wide varieties of ages. Some of the people in our community are in their 40s and some of them are in their 80s. And their grandchildren—they may have, you know, more than one and very often will have more than one–will be of various ages, from newborn through toddler through elementary school and teenagers and sometimes even young adults. What are your suggestions about how grandparents of all these varieties of ages can exercise, can come up with a plan or some ideas for interesting, non-repetitive exercising activities with their grandchildren of different ages?

Dr. Mines: We have to find the balance between the grandparent and the grandkid at whatever stage both are in, right? And we have to find, it’s like a collaborative approach that we collaborate on what’s available, what’s appropriate, what works for both, right? You said, “How do we make a plan?” And that’s a perfect entry point. The first part is make a plan. If you want to be active with your grandchildren, yeah, make a plan for that. So, you have to plan for yourself and then plan for your grandchildren. 

The plan for yourself is “What is your goal? What’s the goal that you’re seeking out to be active with your grandkids?” And then, “Do we have the right setup? Do we have the right equipment? Do we have the right resources to do whatever activity that you’re interested in?” We can also consider, as a grandparent, “Are you physically able to participate in this activity?” You have to kind of see what’s required physically to participate in whatever activity that you’re looking to participate in. So, if you haven’t ridden a bike in decades, maybe you might think that maybe you’re not physically prepared for that and there might be some physical preparation, whether it is riding the bike at the gym for some cardiovascular benefits on a stationary bike and then trying out a bike before you go out and do these activities with your grandkids. So, it does take some planning and preparation. 

And then you also have to consider what stage your grandchildren are. Five-year-old kids aren’t meant to run marathons, right? So, you have to be cautious of not over-exercising your young kid: “Oh, I want to go out on a hike.” Even a five-mile hike is really challenging for a five-year-old. And you might even start with a quarter mile or even a half mile and have different stopping points along the way. 

And set yourself up for success and have a really nice plan. Use the resources available. But then also, we get so geared towards, “I need to complete this goal.” Sometimes, if things aren’t working, it’s okay to call it quits and say, “Okay, I planned this activity. It didn’t really work out well. Let’s call it quits for today. And then we’ll look and see what worked, what didn’t work, and then be more prepared for our next activity.”  

Geri: Now you raise a very important point is that knowing what your limits are and what the limits are for your grandchildren and other people with you, and not trying to push too hard beyond that limit just because you’ve set an arbitrary goal at the beginning of the activity that you want to achieve. The goal is to have fun, for the most part, right? And to have a relationship with your grandchildren, and not necessarily to prove anything. 

Dr. Mines: Exactly. 

Geri: On that point, you know, if a grandparent doesn’t feel comfortable running or walking long distances or hiking or riding a bike or a horse or even sitting on the floor or stretching, where can people go for resources to  learn what fun and safe activities that grandparent can do with children of  varying ages, including teenagers, that will not be too stressful and too exerting, for which they’re not prepared?  

Dr. Mines: If you’re a grandparent and you’re really not able to sit on floor, you can definitely set up the area more for success for you and the grandchild and sit on a chair or a stool that’s comfortable and then take breaks. You don’t want to be sitting on the floor and not being able to get up, right? 

Geri: Right.

Dr. Mines: The other thing is, I train a lot of older people in physical therapy to get up and down from chairs and from low surfaces and from the floor. So, there is training available to actually train yourself to do activities like that. 

And if you’re less active, you can also support your grandchildren by just showing up to sporting games. Showing up to sporting games and cheering them on can make a huge impact. And I think sports are just timeless and they’re very connecting. 

And I say, as for grandparents, go ahead and tell those “when I was your age” story. You might think that your grandkids aren’t that interested in these “when I was your age” stories, but they really can be interesting. I have a story that I never even met my great-grandfather, but he started the football program at the local high school while my great-grandmother worked. They had a flour mill. So, she worked at the mill at home during the day. And then my great-grandfather went to school. He was a principal, and he started this football program at the local high school. And the football program is still an ongoing program today. So, it’s cool through these stories and, through these sports stories, I can continue to carry on the legacy of even my great-grandfather through sports. 

So, sports are really a great way to connect by sharing your stories of what you did when you were younger and how you participated in sports, even if you’re not able to fully physically participate in physical activity with your grandchildren.

Geri: What would you suggest, Dr. Laurel, for a grandparent who wants to train to spend time with their grandchildren, the grandparent wants to be in as maximum physical condition as he or she can be in order to be as fully engaged and involved as he or she can? Where can they go for resources to get these kinds of ideas for how to train? 

Dr. Mines: If you’re not very active and you want to be active, a personal trainer is a great place to go. A physical therapist is a great place to go if you especially have pain. If you don’t have any pain and you just want to be more active, a personal trainer would be great. If you do have pain or limitations, a physical therapist would be really good to go to, to get support from and get that one-to-one personal interaction where they can come up with a really specific, individualized treatment plan for you in order to help you to your goal of being more active with your grandchildren. It’s a really good entry point into being more active with some support of a trainer or physical therapist. If you’re already active, you can still get support or just utilizing more online resources to give you ideas of how to be more active. 

You can also just test yourself a little bit. If you already are active and you want to be a little more active, just test the limits a little bit. If you test them a little too far, pull them back a little bit. If you’re not testing them enough, push it forward. So, you can either self-calibrate or you can get some support and have someone, a professional, set you up with an individualized program to set you up for success to be more physically active. 

The other part of that is, if you actually talk to your grandchildren and share, “Hey, I want to be more active with you. So, I went out and I got a personal trainer and I’m not that active and this was really hard. But I started going to the gym three days a week and now I feel stronger, I feel more alive, and I’m really excited to do more activities with you.” That conversation in itself can be super connecting for you and your grandchildren.

Geri: What do you think about grandparents taking children with them to the gym? 

Dr. Mines: I think it’s really great. We have to just consider how old the grandchildren are and the safety at the gym. I work out of a fitness facility, and we have a designated area for kids. We don’t allow children to work out by themselves under 15 years old unless they’re under supervision of an adult or a trainer. So, you really have to consider the safety of the kid, of your grandchildren, at the gym. 

You also have to think about the safety of yourself. If this is something that you’re used to, you’ve been working out awhile, you know how to lift safely and do the exercises and the machines, great. If going to the gym is kind of new for you, ask to be trained on how to set up the equipment, and set yourself up for safety, and then find out the policies of the gym for your grandchildren to make sure that they’re safe at the gym. 

But if you’re an avid gym goer and you want to bring your grandkids in and show them how to lift weights, it’s a really cool activity. And what I like about the weights is if you take and you document or you make notes about where you’re starting, where your kid’s starting, and then, if you take them over time and then you see that they’re gaining strength and maybe they were lifting just a two pound weight at the gym and now they’re able to lift a five pound weight at the gym, and you track that over time, it can be  really inspiring for a kid to say, “Oh look! I’ve been going to the gym and grandma, look, I can lift five pounds now instead of two pounds and I’m getting stronger, and that’s what I do with my grandma is I go to the gym and get stronger.” It could be really inspiring for our young people. 

Geri: Or time that they spend on a bike, and a resistance level on a recumbent bike can be an interesting way to challenge and measure how well they’re progressing as well, as well as the grandparent, correct?  

Dr. Mines: Yeah, any of those objective measures. I just use the weight, but the time, yeah, any objective measure that you can use can be really inspiring. Some of the weight machines that have the different levels of weights, kids love that stuff and they love changing the weight to a higher weight. 

And they also love things like ball slams. [Giggle.] I have kids pick up these heavy balls and slam them on the ground and they can do as much of those as they want. They’re getting physical energy out. But also, I say, “Anything that isn’t good in your life, put it in this ball and slam it on the floor.” So, activities at the gym can be fun if you’re doing ball slams or some of these weighted balls can be a lot of fun. 

Geri: That’s a great segue to my next question, because ball slamming in particular sounds like a great way to handle anger management as well as excess energy, especially in young kids and teenagers. What are some of the activities, the exercises, and active lifestyles that grandparents could do with grandchildren that are most effective in promoting mental wellbeing? 

Dr. Mines: Using sports or activity as a way to connect with your grandchildren are going to be fulfilling for the grandchild and for the grandparent. The connection is what’s the fulfilling part, right? The activity or the sport is just the entry point. Like I said, if your grandchild is used to going on hikes with you or going to the gym with you, and that’s what they do with their grandma or their grandpa, these activities are increasing endorphins in your body, these feel-good chemicals, so, you’re already feeling good from these chemical release, then you’re feeling good physically, and then you’re spending time with someone that you really love. And that connection also is releasing those good hormones in our body. And so, the whole experience is just amazing and has so much possibility within that experience. And it gives you a time to just spend time, talk, and the more you share about your love of physical activity or your healthy lifestyle, it can really make an imprint and an impression on these young people. Like I was saying, if you said, “Hey, I go to the gym and I eat healthy and I feel good, and this is my life. And now I’m 70 years old and I can still do all these activities with you,” it can definitely make an impression on your grandchildren to adopt the healthy lifestyle that you’re living into your older years. It can be really, really impactful. 

Geri: Well, thank you, Dr. Laurel. I’m glowing with joy just imagining having that kind of an opportunity with my grandchildren too, to be active with them and connecting with them. 

Our grandparent callers are ready now to say a couple of words to us about their thoughts. Please ask Dr. Mines your questions and share your ideas about exercising with grandchildren for energy, strength, and mental health. 

First, Raul in Coral Gables, Florida. Please tell us about you and your grandchildren. 

Raul: Yes, delighted. I have the fortune of having 15 grandkids and I enjoy every one very much. The eldest is 23 and she graduated from Smith College and is working at a law firm in Washington, D.C. And then the next three: One goes to Stanford, another one is in West Point, and the third is going to start at the University of Oregon. Then I have all sorts of ages up to the youngest, who is seven, and, of course, in elementary school. But I enjoy them very, very much. 

And I’m 80 years old, so I’m not, I don’t play soccer with them or anything like that. But we do walk a lot. And I’ve traveled to many places with them. And we walk all over Paris, Madrid, Asheville, Charlotte, everywhere. And I enjoy that very much in showing them the museums and the views and the whatever. I find it a very enjoyable experience, sharing my experiences with them. 

From a point of view of intellectual stimulus, I have taught three of them, the youngest especially, to play chess with me. And we have tournaments and, if they beat me 20 games, I give them $50, which is a heck of a lot for an eight-year-old. And, therefore, he is very stimulated. He plays with me and others. I usually beat them, but I let them beat me enough to keep them interested. I enjoy the grandchildren very much and a lot of different activities. We read a lot. We sing, go to concerts. I really enjoy my    grandchildren. 

Geri: Well, that sounds wonderful. Do you have any particular questions that you’d like to ask Dr. Laurel about how you can prepare to spend active time with your grandkids or some of the activities that you most enjoy doing and maybe like to do more of?

Raul: I’m 80 years old, as I said. I’m physically active to the extent that I can. I go to the gym three times a week, but my main activity with them is walking and also going to soccer games and lacrosse games with them. I enjoy that very much and I think that they like very much that I’m there cheering them on. 

Geri: When you say you go to soccer games, do you go to professional soccer games, or do you go to your grandkids’ soccer games?

Raul: Both. [Laughter.] The grandkids’ soccer game, but I also take them to baseball games in Miami, and I’m taking them to the Red Sox games. They are fans, I make them fans of the Red Sox, so we are going to do that this summer, and I’ll take five or six of them that are interested in it to games and then we’ll walk all over Boston and go to Harvard.

Geri: Dr. Laurel, do you have any particular suggestions for Raul on how he can maximize doing these things that he loves with his kids? 

Dr. Mines: You do a lot of walking with your grandchildren, which are really great. I think one thing that you could probably add that would inspire them any more is if you track the distance while you’re walking in these cities. It can be like a data point, like if you map the distance and say, “Oh, we walked this many miles today, while we went and saw the whole city” and add kind of making that link between the physical activity and the sightseeing at the same time, that can continue to instill a healthy lifestyle in them and have them see different ways to be active outside of sports but in their lives as well.

Raul: That’s a very good suggestion. And I will do that. Yeah, I’ll take you up on it. 

Geri: Well, that sounds wonderful and very exhilarating. 

And Dee in Minnesota is calling in. Dee, what is your relationship and interaction with children, and what are the ranges of their ages? 

Dee: Well, I am actually at the other end of the spectrum from Raul and I’m admiring that he’s stayed busy for so long. So good job, Raul. 

I am 56 and I have my first two grandchildren and they are 11 months, soon to be one year, and then the two-and-a-half-year old. What I find is that I slow down for them. I just have to slow down for them because they’re so slow. I think that it’s been so, so fun watching them. It’s been great to be able to carry them around and I’m set and I’m doing good that way.

But I do find that I get stiff and sore when I carry them, especially the one that is almost walking, but not quite, and he wants me to carry him. 

And then, last year, I fell down and I shattered my kneecap. And then I ended up stopped taking care of them because I couldn’t pick him up because I couldn’t get up myself very well. And so I’ve been very keen on wanting to know–other than what I do know, which is keep moving, and keep eating well, and keep sleeping well–what can I do to make sure that I get into those older years with strength and endurance and being able to keep playing as they grow? 

Dr. Mines: So, we have to consider what you’re asking your body to do, the load that you’re placing on your body by carrying your grandchildren around. Is your body fit for the load? And it sounds like the body is just not quite fit for that load, so increasing some resistance training and some strength training can help your body to be more resilient to the load of your grandchildren, especially if you’re going to be carrying them for the next couple of years, because they’re going to be heavier as they grow. 

The example of exercise would be like weighted squats. If you held a dumbbell and did some squats and trained with that a few days a week, that could help you to increase the muscles that you’re going to use for that functional activity of carrying the grandchildren. 

I acknowledge that you’re eating well and sleeping well and have a balanced life, but you might want to turn to your training and see, “Is there ways that I can train to increase my strength in order to have my body be more resilient to the load that I’m placing on it, which is carrying the grandchildren as I continue to get older?” And keeping that strength is going to be really, really important to support the activity that you want to do with your grandchildren.

Dee: Thank you. 

Geri: Raul, I wonder, all the years that you’ve been spending with your 15 grandchildren, you certainly have carried many of them at varying ages. Do you recall what you did to try to prepare yourself for that load? 

Raul: I was Mayor of Coral Gables for six terms and campaigning here was walking door to door. And I’ve always taken one of them with me, knocking on doors and walking for, I don’t know, four or five miles a day. And I’ve enjoyed that very much. And also, I lost a lot of weight doing it. And my knees got stronger, and I enjoyed it very much. And I let them sometimes go to the door, knock on the door, and say, “My grandfather is this and that.” That was very enjoyable and also physical training, exercise. I’ve enjoyed that very much.

Geri: That’s terrific! Dee, do you have any other questions or any other suggestions either for Raul or for Dr. Laurel? 

Dee: I’m thinking about what you said, Dr. Laurel, and it makes sense that I would be doing those weights and squats. But the issue was that I had shattered my kneecap, and during that ten months of getting my leg to work properly, I feel like I lost so much fitness. But yet, I had been fit, and getting it back has been, maybe that’s where my real question is. 

Dr. Mines: Did you do physical therapy and get support for this injury?

Dee: I did. And they said that I was doing really well, but I noticed that I’m not anywhere where I used to be. And they said, “Oh, but you’re just where you’re supposed to be for your age.” Yet, I’m not where I was.

Dr. Mines: That brings up some difficulty in healthcare, and many physical therapists that you’ll see within our typical healthcare system will train you to the level of just functional, everyday life. But I’m a physical therapist, so I work with athletes of all ages, even older athletes. And so, I definitely don’t undertrain the athlete or the person. I make sure that they’re trained enough for the load or the activity that they want to. So, it sounds like the training that you did get after your injury was just not enough for the activity that wanted to do. So, you might want to shop around a little bit for another physical therapist, or there are some good fitness trainers. I think the training that you got just wasn’t enough for what you actually want to do.

Dee: So, do you think it’s a physical therapist or is it a trainer? 

Dr. Mines: I think you can go to either one. I have my own private practice, so I will see people that don’t have as much pain and dysfunction, but some of these bigger clinics are really focused on people with pain and severe limitations. And then when you get so far into your training, they transition you to a personal trainer. I think either one could really work for you. 

Dee: Thank you. 

Geri: Dee, I understand you have a background in play with children. Do you want to talk about that a little bit? 

Dee: I’d love to talk about that! My background is speech pathology, and so I do an awful lot of language development, language acquisition, communication with kiddos, brain training, all of that. It’s so, so fun to be watching my grandchildren grow with the knowledge base that I have, because I’m all about the brain in that way. Yeah, so that’s what I do. And yes, our play is how we are doing everything that we do. 

Geri: Do any of you have any other thoughts about our conversation today, about exercise with grandchildren? 

Dr. Mines: I just wanted to say that injuries do happen and there are setbacks. But how you handle the injury or the setback can really be inspiring for your grandchildren. And even if you shattered your kneecap, and did a lot of therapy, and trained really hard, and got back to that active lifestyle, and showed how resilient you are and how resilient your family can be, can be really, really inspiring. You also don’t have to be resigned to, “I can’t be active with my grandchildren.” There’s a lot of help and resources out there to be active for well into the older decades in life.

Dee: I’ll add another thing, Dr. Laurel, is since, Geri, you brought up play, I think too that being active with the grandkids really is effective when you’re both laughing, when you’re both exploring, when you’re discovering something new together. One of the things that I love to do with my kids is to take them out and look at plants, because I like plants. And so, to go hiking in the woods. Even though my oldest one, he’s two-and-a-half now, last summer, at one-and-a-half, he was able to name a whole bunch of plants and know the ones he could eat in grandma’s garden. They learn so much because it’s fun. And that also I think is exercise too. If you keep it really fun, then the kiddos are bound to build that relationship, that connection with us while they’re doing either strenuous or less strenuous things.

Dr. Mines: I love grabbing a wildflower guide or a bird guide or animal tracks guide and going out hiking and looking for animal tracks or the different plants or wildflowers or different birds. I definitely recommend exploring the nature and all the elements of nature outside hiking with your family.  

Dee: One thing that’s pretty funny too is, as they get a little bit older, I know that they’ll be running miles around me while they go zipping on and off path. Well, I’m trying to talk about one thing, and they just keep on running. So that’s kind of a fun way to be able to give them whatever level of exercise that they want in relation to whatever level of exercise I want. 

Dr. Mines: And that’s where that finding that collaborative point between their age and where you are physically in your life and calibrating that to work for both the grandchildren and the grandparent at the same time.

Geri: That is delightful. I think we’ve gained from this conversation that what we have as grandparents that’s most important to us is the fun and connection that we have with our grandkids. Almost anything that we do with them that involves that fun and connection is going to bring more joy to our lives and to their lives. 

I’m going to summarize briefly some of the suggestions from our conversation today:

 –Make a plan for yourself and for your grandkids considering your physical circumstances and your grandkids’ physical circumstances or the circumstances of anyone that you’re caring for or who is with you in your activity.

 –Make sure that you do what you can together and don’t overdo what you can do together. Not everyone is at the same level of ability and there’s nothing wrong with recognizing when it’s time to stop. Just stop. You don’t have to focus on the completion. You want to focus on the fun and the connection. 

 –There are ways we can train, Dr. Laurel told us, and gave us some examples, to be able to stand up and be more flexible and be more resilient, enjoying those activities with our grandchildren. Weight training, resistant weighted squats was something that she mentioned. 

 –Showing up at sports games. Even if you’re not able to participate in the games yourself or to engage in extensive, exerting physical exercise, you can go with your grandchildren and loved ones to sports games, professional ones and games in which the kids play, and root for them and make sure that they understand that you’re in their corner.  

 –Tell legacy sports stories, talk about what it was like when you were growing up. Grandkids, younger people, love to hear stories about your successes and your failures, in sports and in other activities that you do, because it’s relatable to them and makes them feel good about themselves and gives themselves some self-esteem. You can inspire kids with these resilience-from-injury, recovery-from-injury stories, like the story that Dee shared with us on how she is struggling to come back from her injury, and can be a role model to her grandchildren in doing that.

 –Dr. Laurel told us there are lots of online resources for activities that we can engage in, both in training for exercise and also enjoying those exercise activities themselves.

 –You can take children to some of the gyms. Some of the gyms have areas  that are specially set apart for them, considering the safety and appropriateness for children of the activities in which they engage and  making sure that there are sufficient and appropriate supervision for the  children when they’re engaging in those activities, some of which, like ball  slams, can be used not only for exercise and fun but also for anger management, and excess energy control, and other types of mental health  improvements and augmentations.

 –We want to track progress when we can on some of these activities:  We walked two miles last week, and this week we’re able to walk three miles, and the next week we’re able to walk four miles, and before you know it, we can participate in speed walking a half marathon! I did that about 20 years ago. 

It is very enjoyable for us, but it’s also a great model to set for our grandchildren as they grow older. 

I want to thank you, our special guest, Dr. Laurel Mines, and all of our callers and listeners. 

Watch for our announcements of our next Grand Central® Radio show. Our podcasts are posted for free access on iTunes, iHeart, TuneIn, Spotify, Blubrry, YouTube, YouTube Music (the site formerly known as Google Podcasts), and our secure website, grandcentralradio.com. Our mission is to be the grandparents’ community platform.

Until then, please contact me, Geri Cole, on our secure website, grandcentralradio.com, or contact our shows’ producer at

info@grandcentralradio.com :

 –if you have any questions or suggestions for us or any of our podcast special guests,  

 –if you would like to participate in the recording of one or more of our future podcast episodes, or  

 –if you suggest a sponsor of our shows or website. 

Stay well, safe, and secure, and happy grandparenting!