Bike rides create fitting family memories

Stuart and Lisa Leslie with their children Kiara, 12, Anton, 9, and Sienna, 7. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO
Stuart and Lisa Leslie with their children Kiara, 12, Anton, 9, and Sienna, 7. Picture: ORLANDO CHIODO

An active lifestyle not only keeps parents healthy, but also helps them connect with their kids.

Fairy Meadow couple Stuart and Lisa Leslie enjoy keeping themselves and their three children active and find bike rides a good way to get outdoors and stay fit.

A recent Bupa Health Pulse Survey found children lack healthy role models; some have overweight parents whose actions contradict their instructions about living a healthy lifestyle.

The survey, released last month, found seven out of 10 Australian parents who are overweight or obese believe they are the primary source of their children's understanding of health and nutrition.

South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Health has found one in five children aged 7 to 16 in NSW are overweight or obese.

The Leslies are role models to their children not only to keep them healthy, but to enjoy family time together.

The couple aim to spend at least 20 minutes a day being active and at least once a fortnight they go for a bike ride together with children Kiara, 12, Anton, 9, and Sienna, 7.

They started taking Kiara for rides in a baby seat on the bike when she was 12 months old and since then the three children have progressed from baby seats to their own bikes.

Lisa says their favourite ride is from Towradgi to Fairy Meadow, North Wollongong and Lang Park and the time spent preparing three kids for a ride is worth the effort.

"The cycleway is one of the city's best assets to families and it gives you lovely landmarks along the way," Lisa says.

It was actually easier cycling with the kids when they were younger, she says, as "now they're older they take off". She recalls times the kids would sing songs to inspire them to get through the journey.

Lisa and Stuart aren't athletes and aren't into competition, but simply appreciate being healthy and active. Lisa also has a 10-minute bike ride to work she enjoys.

"In the garden we throw the ball around and there's a handball competition in our street with all the kids.

"We do it because it's healthy and it's an opportunity to connect with the kids.

"It's mostly about being with the family, creating memories."

"I think it's very hard for parents these days because we have the competition of electronics," Lisa says.


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