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JUST MOVE: CHOOSE AN ACTIVE WAY TO CELEBRATE MOTHER'AS DAY

By MICHELLE SHEPPARD, For Public Opinion

So many holidays are celebrated with food as the central theme. Along with our desire to spend time with family, we often go to great lengths preparing special foods to share or choosing just the right restaurant for the holiday meal. Why not reconsider those Mother's Day buffet reservations and focus the day on enjoying a family outing together?

Mother's Day comes at a perfect time of year to start a tradition of playing versus eating. Celebrate Mom's special day in any number of ways that does not revolve around food as the star performer. The remainder of this Just Move column will provide suggestions for encouraging the "Mom" in your life to take time and enjoy herself and the joy of moving.

If your mother is already an active individual, but often struggles to find the time for a leisurely workout, consider giving her a special day or weekend pass to enjoy whatever form of fitness it is she likes to do. Some suggestions may include giving a gift certificate for a round of golf at her favorite course or lessons with a local golf pro. Perhaps your mother walks for fitness and loves to antique shop. Plan a day trip to downtown Frederick, Md., or Shepherdstown, W.Va. Both of these communities provide a variety of wonderful antique shops and boutiques to scour on foot along with designated foot paths close by that are safe and beautiful for a brisk powerwalk or a leisurely stroll.

One of my family's favorite Mother's Day activities is croquet. This slow-paced lawn game can be enjoyed by all ages and most abilities. Often we will play teams pairing younger and older family members together for more fun. My 84-year-old grandmother loves to "send" my 15-year-old teenager off the course. Along with croquet, there are several other lawn games that can be enjoyed by a few or many and will promise to keep you moving and thinking. A more active gathering may prefer a game of volleyball or softball, while others might prefer bocce or badminton. And don't forget about an old fashioned game of hide and seek guaranteed to delight all ages.

If you must celebrate Mother's Day over a distance, rethink ordering that customary FTD bouquet. Does your mother belong to a fitness facility, YMCA or a women's only spa? Think about giving her a gift certificate for additional services or to renew her membership for a month or more. If your mother is a gardener, send a seed or plant catalogue along with a gift certificate for her to select a plant or tree that will provide a season or possibly years of enjoyment.

Of course, your mother will still have to eat on Mother's Day, but perhaps by focusing on the activities and fun you will share, the desire to eat will be reduced. Besides, how many mothers out there reading this column remember what you had to eat for Mother's Day last year?

Michele Sheppard has a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology, and she is a fitness professional at the Chambersburg YMCA.

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