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I stumbled across an older photo the other day by accident, which made me stop, do a double take and smile.

In 2015 I ran my first marathon. In the photo I am sitting next to my wife (who just completed the half) and our oldest son in the recovery area. Our son who would have been around 10 at the time is holding a large slice of pizza and a bottle of water along with my camera strapped around his neck. Initially you might think that he is holding those items for me. Oh no, he was taking full advantage of the four hour run I just done and wanted to participate in the post race activities. The fact that the area we were in was restricted to runners only is another story. I always thought it was a pretty neat shot and that was before I realized a deeper meaning into the photo. I then started thinking about the events I attended as a child with my father, which helped guide me to this point.

My dad was active when I was a youth. It seemed like every sport I participated in, he was there helping to coach. I didn’t know his level of expertise at the time, but I didn’t care. All I knew was that he was there. On the flip side we would travel as a family when he ran various races such as the Chicago marathon or other various events. I even remember watching him play several games in a church softball league.

These memories have stuck with me over the years and have had a tremendous impact on my own life. When talking about health and fitness, the example we are showing our youth is vital for their own future success.

Putting this together I thought I would throw out a simple challenge: This week focus on two things.

No. 1 — How can you be more involved. Now you might be laughing out loud at this point, thinking “how much more involved do you want me to be?” In that case, maybe just re-evaluate your priorities. Don’t do anything crazy. Just take a peek at them. How much time is spent in front of the tv or on your phone. Maybe it’s time to get out and try something new.

No. 2 — Invite others to join along. If you have kids, help out as a volunteer coach or try a new activity together. Invite someone to come to a group exercise class with you. Think of those who had an impact on your life and try and to pass some of those good vibes on to someone else. Whatever it is, remember how much of a positive influence you can have on others.

Aaron Fabel, B.A in Exercise Science and Wellness, is the CEO at the Oahe Family YMCA. He can be reached by email at ajfabel@oaheymca.org

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