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The other night, I was standing in the kitchen minding my own business when my son, whom I now refer to as Mr. Parkour, walked in to inquire about something or other, and while awaiting my response grabbed the molding above the door and cranked out a couple of modified pull-ups. Then, my daughter, who’s always been known around our house as The Boss Mare, came in and began contesting the conventional wisdom about pushups and triceps (see earlier post), and then, to show how her biceps worked, got down on the floor and did exactly 23 pushups, because that’s how many pushups she said she can do.

I have no idea how any of this happened.

For the past three years I’ve been going to the gym on a fairly regular basis without noticing any of my moderately healthy behavior rubbing off on my two former-children-turned-housemates. Mr. Parkour still has a 5-foot-high pyramid of empty Dr. Pepper cans in one corner of his room — testament to his love for high-fructose corn syrup — and The Boss Mare, when she’s not on her horse, has been known to spend entire days on the couch watching Japanese anime.

Recently, though, the two of them and their friends have been taking long walks down along the river, exploring the hilly terrain between Minnehaha Falls and Fort Snelling. And, as I’ve noted earlier, Mr. Parkour has been all about running and jumping and hanging on stuff. He’s also sworn off soda and is making fewer late-night trips to Walgreen’s for mini-donuts and Milky Way bars.

He picked me up from work a couple of days ago, and after we pulled into the driveway, he exited the Crapmobile through his open window like some NASCAR driver, leaped over the three raised-bed gardens in our tiny back yard, and swung into a pull-up on the clothesline pole.

Later, I was admiring the emerging tulips in the front yard when he catapulted himself off the front steps and began doing standing broad jumps on the sidewalk. “That’s all about explosive power,” I commented innocently. “You can train for that.”

He seemed interested. “Can you do this?” he asked, jumping with both feet from the sidewalk to the second step, maybe 18 inches up. I crouched and exploded — to the first step. While I was pondering my lack of explosiveness, he nonchalantly sprung to the top of the four steps.

It’s not a bad thing to live your life vicariously through your offspring. Every parent does it in one way or another, I suspect. Still, I’m thinking I might want to work in some new exercises — squats, lunges, and various plyometric moves — into my routine. See if I can make it to that second step.

Thoughts to share?

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