In 2003 I decided to try something with my family to keep them active during the holiday season. I created the 25 in 25® exercise challenge. Whoever made it through to December 25 received an extra gift from me.
The story of 25 in 25® Exercise Challenge
It is the busiest month for all of us, and we have at least six parties to attend in the 3-4 days around Christmas. On top of that, my husband and I drive home to Indiana, which is about 11-12 hours depending on the weather and traffic. I was surprised that everyone in my family except for one person decided to participate, and that has continued for fifteen years.
Our Family Rules
- Exercise purposefully for 25 minutes every day starting December 1.
- It can be divided up into segments.
- Alternatively, they can wear a pedometer and walk 3 miles or 6000 steps.
- There are no excuses, even if they have a cold, are traveling, or pregnant! Remember, it is a choice to participate, not mandatory.
- They can skip Christmas Day but only if they exercised 50 minutes on Christmas Eve.
I can’t believe that 15 years later we are still doing it! My Mom, Dad, and husband have won a prize every year. Mom made it through crazy split-shift work hours and Dad through business travel where he ended up counting his steps or miles during 13-hour days. My husband rode his bike in single digit temps and came back with ice on his beard. I think my sister only missed it one year, but she did it two years while she was pregnant and not feeling great. My brother has lost a few times, but I know his little Rat Terrier-Chihuahua Dogter Lexi loves getting the extra walks in. His wife even did it while going through treatments for thyroid cancer! My favorite story is when my niece was four and she was on her mom’s elliptical machine saying she needed to get her 40 hours in for Aunt Marcey 😉 Sometimes they would grumble about having to exercise but it was always a choice, and it certainly pushed them.
Four years ago I started the challenge on Coach.Me to open it up to people all over the world. It’s fun to see people check in from Pakistan, India, Ireland, and Indiana! Won’t you join us? The holiday season is the hardest to stay active, but everyone (even you!) can find 25 minutes, or a 10 and 15-minute chunk, or walk 6000 steps. Knowing that you have other family members going through the same struggles with time and the same parties makes you want to keep going.