shutterstock_181060406

Be Like a Kid: Making Exercise Fun Again

by Chris Freytag

If you’re trying to add more activity and movement to your life, one place to look for inspiration is your children. When we were kids, we never said, “I have to go exercise.” We just wanted to play and move. Here are four things about being active and healthy that you can learn from kids:

1. Life is a game.

Have you ever watched kids play on the playground? They come up with constant ways to make things into a game and more fun. They run, jump, climb and swing their arms — and not because they think it’s good for their waistlinesor hearts, but because they are having a blast! Their imagination and creativity is endless.

Exercise and movement doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be as fun as you make it. Even doing the laundry can be fun if you put on some jamming music and dance around as you fold!

Try it out: Play with your kids on the playground sometime and just move for the fun of it. Or try a dance class, go rock climbing or toss a Frisbee.

2. Find a playmate.

Kids can be much better at making friends than adults. Children are drawn to other children. Any kid on the playground becomes a potential “running around” mate.

Learn from this by taking some initiative and asking someone you know to exercise with you. Maybe your neighbor would love to take a walk with you, or your colleague in the next cubicle would be interested in hitting the gym with you over your lunch hour. Seek out partners in your quest for good health. It will keep you accountable and could be more fun. Even your dog can be a great workout buddy!

3. Get outdoors.

Kids thrive outside. They welcome the outside world like it’s an adventure, a world to explore. When my kids were young, we used to spend a lot of time in the spring and summer at the local park or just on our driveway playing four square and hopscotch. Now that my kids are older, we aren’t on the playground as much, but we still spend a lot of time outside playing sports, riding bikes or rollerblading. My husband and I try to walk every night in the warmer months. Being outdoors can be a great motivator and can change up your routine in just the right way!

4. “I can’t” is not an option.

In their own minds (as the saying goes), kids are “kings of the world.” They don’t have 30 years of self-doubt built up, and most of them believe they can do anything. They aren’t afraid to try something new because they don’t have “qualifications” or “experience.” And here’s the real kicker: When kids fall/fail, they get right back up and try again. Ever watched a child try to climb a tree or ride a bike without training wheels? Many of them will keep going at it until they master it. Very seldom will you see a kid never get on a bike again because they fell down once.

We adults shy away from things we aren’t good at for fear that we’ll embarrass ourselves. Embrace your inner child and try new things. Take on a new sport orsign up for that new class. As I always say, “It’s not about perfection. It’s about progress!”