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.

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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

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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

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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!

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