My Story: Setting Examples for My Children

By Saniya Ghanoui —

SD discusses how her love for staying active has translated to her children.


OBOS Today: Do you have children if you don’t mind me asking? 

SD: I have two.  

OBOS Today: How do you feel your relationship to exercise is translated to your children? Do you feel—I guess I’m thinking about the relationship between you and your mother and how exercise is different there, if you want to speak a little bit about the role of exercise in your family as well. 

SD: Right and it’s that— 

It’s not just exercise. It’s just being active and doing things and not just sitting and watching TV or sitting and eating in a restaurant. Both of my sons were very, very, very—They’re older now, one is in his 30s and one in his late 20s.  

The one in his late 20s basically defines himself as an athlete and he has been. 

He played college sports, he is active, it is part of his life, it will never not be, and he absolutely credits his parents for just about valuing that.  

He would have done it anyway; we did not push him to do these things. He was bouncing a ball; you know you know in utero. But he loves that we are active, and we’ve always gone camping and done things like that, and he has actually in his older years–has thanked us for teaching him how to do these things, and how to enjoy things responsibly and you know survive outside and things like that.  

My older son who’s in his 30s was also an athlete in high school—It didn’t—It didn’t transfer to college. He leads a more sedentary lifestyle, you know. His work is sitting at a desk so he’s not really very active, but he goes in spurts of weightlifting, and you know things like that, and I do think he views himself as very physically capable. Now let’s see what happens after you know, being more sedentary for a few more years so my hope is that he will get a little more, you know—because he does view himself as physically healthy and that takes work you know.  

So, the answer to your question is, my children do not view me like I view my mother at all. They both think of me as a good example in that respect, maybe not in other respects, but in that respect, a good example and they’re thankful.  

OBOS Today: Did you remain active through like your pregnancies and after giving birth as well? 

SD: Yep. I distinctly remember my first pregnancy where I was—You know, it was like, you know, 32 years ago and I was taking aerobics classes at some place, and I was very little pregnant and I was doing the aerobics and I said, 

“Oh my God, I know I’m imagining it, but I feel the kid jumping up and down, and I can’t do this. I can’t—I can’t.” I said, “I know I should do something, but I can’t do this,” so I stopped that.  

So, I think through my first pregnancy, I just walked, and walked, and walked. I was so nervous about doing anything, you know, so I just walked, and walked, and walked, and then I recovered really quickly and went right back to exercising.  

You know, so much so that my husband and I had a schedule, where “Okay you’re going to have to watch him, I can go out.” And for my second pregnancy, it was such an easy—   

You know, it was like the quickest delivery on earth and like within two days I felt fine, so it was very quick. So yeah, I just went right back to exercising and doing things and you know with the kids we started doing things so, yeah. But I never took any of those you know. Pregnancy exercise—it just didn’t occur to me.