10-Year-Old Helps Family Form Healthy Habits

When Holly Ackerman and her husband Wilson – a pair of working parents – volunteered for Lexington Family’s Fit Family Challenge, they realized that finding motivation to keep on track could be an obstacle.

What they didn’t realize was that their source of motivation would be their 10-year-old daughter Sarah.

“We were getting ready for bed one night and Sarah said, “Let’s do sit-ups, Mom!” Holly said. “So I got down on the floor and did as many as I could. Then Wilson got down and did them, too.”

Instantly, exercise turned into a family affair.

Along with changing the family’s eating habits, the Ackermans have plunged into an exercise regimen – even if it hurts… and it has.

For the four months of the Fit Family Challenge, the Ackermans are paired with trainers Morgan E. Rawlings and Susan Wagers from Flex Fitness in Lexington.

The first workout was a killer.

“It was tough,” Holly said. “The next day I could barely move a muscle.”

Training involved more than walking on a treadmill – much more.

“I heard, ‘We’re going to do a suicide’ and I thought, ‘That can’t be good,’” Holly said.

Anyone who played high school basketball remembers suicides – running sprint after sprint back and forth across the court.

“By the end of it we were pretty whipped,” Holly said.

But they have remained undaunted and undeterred, dutifully performing their exercise “homework.”

“We don’t belong to a gym so it’s great that Morgan and Susan have given us exercises we can do at home,” Holly said.

And at work.

Holly, a technical assistant with the First Steps program, works at the Health Services Building in Frankfort. She now takes time during the day to walk with a co-worker who has become a helpful exercise buddy. “My friend is always reminding me not to forget my walking shoes,” Holly said.

Wilson works at Fortune Collision in Lexington where he has access to indoor and outdoor fitness trails.

“We are being so much more active,” Holly said. “And we’ve got the pains to show for it.”

The family is also working on a better, fruit and vegetable rich diet. Again, Sarah has stepped up the plate – so to speak.

She makes her own breakfast and lunch each day, measuring out her cereal and peanut butter, and limiting herself to no more than one tablespoon of light syrup on her pancakes.

Sarah has taken the Challenge so seriously that she faced a dilemma at school. After scoring 100% on a state capitals test, she qualified for a visit to the “Hard Work Café” for ice cream.

“Should I eat the ice cream?” Sarah asked her mother, tempted by the academic honor but worried about its impact on her diet.

“I was impressed that she was so conscientious,” Holly said. “I told her she could go but reminded her to balance it out by walking extra time that night.

“I want fitness to be an overall lifestyle change for us. I want this to be a permanent staple in our lives.

“This is making a difference for all of us. We’re not perfect, but we’re taking huge steps in the right direction.”

Yes they are – together as a family.