Lots of adults have come to the conclusion that exercise is something to be dreaded and something that goes to the bottom of the ever-growing list of things to do.
But we didn’t always see it that way.
When I was a kid in the 70s and 80s, I wasn’t allowed to just sit in the house. I was told to go play outside whether I wanted to or not.
And thank goodness for that (er, uh, thank mom for that)…
So in that time that I was outside, I
- climbed trees
- rode my bike
- found friends
- played king of the hill
- rolled down the hill
- jumped over bushes
- skipped to the park
- did penny drops from the swings
- did cartwheels
- and tumbles
- and backbends
- and and and…
Somewhere along the way, I lost the desire to go outside and play just for the sake of going outside and playing. As I got older, I joined gyms and kept in shape that way, but something was missing. Then when I had kids and they were little, it was easy to get back into the playing outside habit, but kids get older, as kids do and now I find myself less and less outside.
It’s time to change that! A good solution is to create an outside habit for you and your kids.
I started playing cool sports for my new cool self. Admittedly, they were great fun and a wonderful source of exercise, but then I went to college and I stopped playing sports.
In college, I joined a gym and started working out. Notice that play morphed into working out over a span of time. Working out became a chore and it skewed my whole view of taking care of my body.
Now it was work. I had decided that exercise was to be avoided instead of seeing the movement as a gift to enjoy.
When I had kids, I remembered what it was like to play and how fun it is!
It shouldn’t be work and it doesn’t have to be. See it through your own eyes, as a child. See it through your children’s eyes, if you have to.
Because kids don’t see it as work ~ they just don’t. It comes as easily to them as breathing.
So, how can we bridge the gap in perspective? Watch and learn ~ that’s how.
Observe your children. I know, I know, you watch them every day and you observe them all the time. But this time, as you’re watching them, notice HOW they play and exercise and move their bodies. It comes so naturally to them and it came so naturally to you too, once upon a time. It can be like that again! You can recapture that effortless movement and joy of exercise.
When you observe them, notice ~
- When they play frisbee, for instance, do they just stand there and wait for the disc to come to them? Probably not.
They’re diving and running and reaching and falling and laughing.
When they’re at the park, are they sitting on the bench reading? No,
they’re playing tag and swinging and doing the monkey bars and running and giggling.
When you go for a family walk, are they walking steadily beside you or are they
zigzagging and darting and sprinting and bending and discovering?
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Watch them and do what they do. (Monkey See Monkey Do..) Try to recapture that love and joy and wonder of natural exercise ~ in the raw.
What do you think? Have you lost the joy of exercise? Do you think you can recapture that feeling you had as a child? Have you kept that perspective all along?