The Problem With Todays Adults & Exercise: We’ve Forgotten How To Play

When we were kids we couldn’t wait for lunch time to roll around in school. Not because it was time to eat our delicious peanut butter sandwiches and oreos, but because of what we knew happened immediately after lunch:

recessRecess was the highlight of many a kids’ day. It was as if for the past 4 hours we had been caged up like zoo animals and suddenly the cage door was opened and we were allowed to run wild.

Just like an animal, you can take the kid out of the wild but you can’t take the wild out of the kid.

I was reminded of this just last weekend. Dan and I sat down to watch a old favorite of ours… Hook.


If you haven’t watched it or it’s been decades, I strongly recommend it. The movie is just as good at 30 as it was when I was 7. If not better, because now at 30, I’m able to analyze and dissect it in a way that I wasn’t able to do as a crazy, wild child.

The message that both Dan and I took from it was this:

We complain often about “kids these days” but what about adults? We have a real problem on our hands with obesity, lack of exercise, and poor lifestyle choices and it all comes down to this…

Adults these days have forgotten how to PLAY. 

In the movie, Peter Pan doesn’t remember anything about his glory days with Hook and the Lost Boys. He had gotten so wrapped up with success that he forgot how to play, how to imagine and how to let lose. It’s not until he begins to realize how to have fun that he remembers who he is and his powers!

I don’t remember having my play card revoked when I turned a certain age. Do you? I don’t remember at what age it became uncool to play, but it’s nonsense.

Why So Many People Don’t Work Out: The Adult Mindset


Working out has gotten a negative feel about the whole thing. I mean, who wants to “work” when they’re not working?

And second, the idea of having to put effort into something that doesn’t provide an immediate payback can be hard.

There are even days when the last thing I want to do is workout. But that’s because from time to time I am still thinking of exercise with an adult mindset.

If we keep this classic adult mindset then of course it’s hard to stay motivated to move more, sweat more, and exercise more.

Adults take everything so seriously, that we forget what’s really important:

Enjoying life!

And part of enjoying life is having recess. Be excited to move and run around. Turn back into a wild animal, just waiting for that cage to be opened so we can run, jump and play.

How To Play Like A Kid


I mentioned yesterday that I took my niece to the beach this past weekend. While there, I saw a little girl (probably around 4) doing bear runs, crab walks and frog jumps from the water’s edge all the way up to her mom and back.

I actually laughed out loud because she made it look like such a blast… but when I do these same moves in boot camp, no one looks as joyous as that little girl. What a shame.

But it doesn’t have to be like that. Here are some tips to bring the fun back into exercise so that we learn to play again!

Watch kids play.

But not in a creepy way. <– Just a tip.

The next time you’re out walking, sitting at the beach, or at a park just take a few minutes and watch the kids. Look at what they’re doing and the silly grins stretching across their faces. I promise, you won’t be able to hide a smile and you will also have an earning to want to suddenly move more.

If they’re having so much fun, you want in too, right!?

Stop calling it a workout.

Your parents didn’t tell you to go outside for a “workout” and your teachers didn’t say it was workout time, so why do we do?

Instead, refer to your fitness time as it is: your recess and play time.

Suddenly going to workout doesn’t sound so bad!

Find something that is fun for you.

If you hate to run, then don’t. If you hate going to your gym’s fitness class, then stop.

There are so many great ways to get and stay in shape but it’s up to you to find the thing that makes you excited.

What is a form of fitness that will have you excited to wake up early?

For me, kettlebells and running are those things. I go to bed giddy knowing that I get to wake up and get a great run in. I get to my studio excited to test out a new kettlebell workout!

For me, these two things make up playtime.

Don’t take everything so seriously. 

Don’t be a Peter Panning… always aim to be Peter Pan!

I know being an adult is hard. Trust me, boy do I know. But it’s also fun. We have freedom and the sky is the limit.

Appreciate that, chill out and remember that it’s okay to breath sometimes. The world won’t fall apart if you don’t take everything so seriously.

Workout without a heart rate monitor sometimes, forget your GPS watch… sometimes just move for the sake of moving.

Play like a kid. 

Seriously, play like a kid! Get your friends together for a big match of freeze tag. Instead of going to happy hour on Friday night, see about your friends meeting up for a game of capture the flag.

Oh, you know you’re smiling imagining it already!

Don’t limit yourself just because you can drink a glass of wine. Embrace the inner child, we all have one!

What was your favorite thing about recess or playing outside? 

I had a huge trampoline when I was a kid. My friends and I would literally spend hours on it during summers. Sometimes pretending we were Olympic gymnast (I was always Nadia or Dominique Dawes) and sometimes we would put dish soap all over it, wet it and spend hours sliding and jumping… I have no idea how I didn’t end up with broken bones from this!


  • YESSSSSSSS! I hate when I hear people say I have to run to really workout…I always give them 7 other options and say why? If you don’t want to run, don’t run! You’ll never stick with a program you don’t enjoy. When I was a kid, I LOVED the monkey bars! I tried to do them the other day when I went to the park with Kay- gah- so hard!

    • Monkey bars are so hard now! lol

  • Sheena

    It’s so true! I’m always the one at family dinners running around the back yard with the kids 😀 One year when I was little my friend and I rollerbladed around our neighbourhood every single day of summer break, it was so much fun and we were so awesome at skating backwards and doing tricks by the end of the summer!!

    • Rollerblading is the best! I still have a pair!

      • Sheena

        I just gave mine away to my sister-in-law last week, it was a little sad but they’ve been collecting dust for ages!

        • 🙁 but at least they’ll get used!

  • It pains me to hear people talk about how they don’t like an exercise, but they still do it! Not a particular part of a workout (such as me not being a big fan of 100 or 200 repeats), but an entire activity like running, Zumba, etc. Find something else, ya know? Do what makes you happy and stay active!

    I feel like a lot of runners I know need to think of it as play and take it less seriously. I read posts in Facebook groups from people who feel guilty because they took a rest day, or they “only” did a group fitness class instead of doing a class and running (last time I checked, a one hour group fitness class was a pretty good workout… imho). Or take racing so seriously… it’s just running!!!

    When I was a kiddo, my friends had a trampoline… man we loved that thing! This was back in the day before trampolines had nets and safety stuff, so we did crazy stuff on it and got “hurt” but no one ever wound up in the ER, we were just being kids. They had a playhouse with a slide too and swings, loved those too. Always had a great time hanging out at their house. Honestly I loved being a kid and growing up in the country and I miss it a lot sometimes. I’d never trade Charleston for it as an adult, but it was home and probably always will be.

    • We were the same with the trampoline too! Those things are crazy dangerous but such a blast! I am sure the country was a great place to grow up!

  • i get more worn out playing that working out!! it’s all kinds of sprints, strength, etc. my nieces and nephew are pretty good at that. ha

    • No kidding, my niece wears me out!

  • steph

    EXACTLY!! I actually went to barre yesterday because it was my day off, but when it is nice out I usually walk the bridge and/or at CharlesTowne Landing or anywhere else outside. I mentioned this to you in another comment, but I also desperately miss my physical job (but not so much being in the elements on bad weather days) because I came home feeling accomplished and TIRED!

    Have you ever experienced NIA? I don’t get there as much as I’d like due to my crazy schedule, but it’s all about getting back to just moving for fun and pleasure. Check it out 🙂

  • First things first, I had to IMDB Hook to confirm that it was, in fact, from 1991. Good lord haha!

    Secondly, I completely agree with this. I say to my husband all the time that it’s so funny that we could just go run around and play as kids and now we can sit at home not knowing what to do with ourselves. You really do forget how to just “play” as you get older and it’s so unfortunate. I definitely used to crab walk through the house.. ha!

    • I know, i was amazed too and felt really old! You and your husband should crab walk the house tonight! haha

  • This post is SO TRUE. We call it a workout and it inherently makes it sound like work. Doh!

  • Great article. I’m a kid at heart so doing “cardio” outside with my kids always feels like playing and spending time with them.

    btw, Hook is a great family movie!

    • Thanks! Hook is an awesome movie indeed!

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