Fitness Friday: Exercise Like a Kid | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


Can you remember when exercise became a job? Another box to check off (or ignore)?

I can pretty much pinpoint that moment for me – when I started playing competitive sports in high school.  Something about two hours of practice daily, plus games or meets on weekends, and an hour long weight training class during the school day kind of sucked the fun right out of exercise. I dreaded the moment at the end of the day when the school bell rang and I had to slog over to the gym to change for whichever practice I had that day – soccer, basketball, track, cheer leading (shutupandyesitisasport).

What I want to do – need to do – is find that fun again. Make exercise something I look forward to…playtime.

Think back to when you were a kid…what did you do for fun? Build forts? Ride your bike? Play video games (stay with me here)?

My mom used to kick us outside for the entire day, weather permitting (and in the Pacific Northwest, weather permitting is pretty liberal and includes rain – that’s what rain gear and galoshes are for). We would play in the woods, building forts, fencing with sticks, riding our thunder wheels up and down the road like a Garanimals clad gang. We would race each other for fun (running just to run? I KNOW!).

So, how does a sane adult work playtime into an exercise routine?

Here are some ideas:

– If you have children, or children you can borrow (nieces, nephews, grandkids, friend’s kids), PLAY with them. How about a game of tag? Dig Twister out of the closet.  Go to the playground and utilize all that free fitness equipment – have you TRIED swinging across the rings lately? Holy upper body workout, Batman. It is NOT easy. Another bonus? You will wear the children out. This is a good thing, and will be appreciated by you or to whomever you return the children.

– When my son was an infant, I read somewhere to lay next to him on the floor and then try to mimic his movements. You know how babies lie on their back with their feet up, kicking and moving? I tried it. I only lasted about ten minutes. And my abs were burning!

– You know how I mentinoned video games earlier? Have you tried any of the new fitness centered video games lately? We love EA Sports Active here at the Sisterhood. I also personally love Punch Out for the Nintendo Wii. I actually worked up a sweat while punching the heck out of my husband. Virtually, of course!

– Cardio? Fun? It can be! I loved skipping rope as a kid. Especially double dutch.  I found an adult double dutch class in my area by searching  ‘Seattle Adult Double Dutch.’  Also fun? Kickball, hopscotch and tether ball! Hit your local elementary school playground with some buddies when school is out and take advantage of all the fun (and free) facilities.

– Do you live near water? I can’t think of anything that I loved more as a kid than water sports. Swimming is the obvious one, but kayaking and canoeing are also great upper body workouts. In college, I used to play kayak water polo. SO MUCH FUN.

– Other ideas? Fencing. Ultimate Frisbee. Dance class! Honestly, there are so many ways to exercise that are more like play than work. You just have to look! Check out your local Parks and Rec Department or Community College to see what they’re offering. It is surprising what you can find.

So, tell us, how do YOU play? I’m excited to hear some creative ideas, people!

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