I’m a mom to one of the most beautiful and active 3-year-olds out there. Since having her, my world has completely changed for the better. And one of the things that has dramatically improved is my overall outlook on fitness: Fitness from her point of view is fun. My daughter has taught me this invaluable lesson on a regular basis. It’s not “Oh, I have to go work out” or “I must do cardio today.” Her take on it, her ultimate lesson is to stop exercising and have fun instead!
When I watch her choose to have fun I see this little ball of energy that never seems to slow down, with a permanent grin fixed on her face. What if we attacked the treadmill this way? She doesn’t roll her eyes at the thought of running after the ball that she didn’t catch and that rolled 50 feet past her, and she never hesitates to play tag and hide-and-go-seek or climb the latest obstacle put in front of her. This is completely unlike what I see at the gym, where adults begrudgingly push through their workouts when they realize they have a few more repetitions to complete.
And as I have joyfully watched her “choosing” to have fun while being insanely active and fearless, I started asking a lot of questions. When does this stop for us? When do we as adults stop choosing to “have fun” and look at exercise as a requirement? Is there an age when something inside of us adapts, breaks or evolves to cause us to view the gym as a chore? Is this joy something that we can get back to or relearn?
How To Stop Exercising and Have Fun Instead
After all of these questions, I had an epiphany that you might just agree with. While I may not have the perfect answer to all of these questions, I do believe we can start making exercise a time that is full of fun instead of a monotonous, assembly line type of responsibility. And if we’re able to do this successfully, we will be able to maintain a consistent fitness routine.
I’m aware that we all need to be active unless blessed with superhuman genetics. And since most of us don’t have the invincible gene, we need to figure out how to maintain a consistent fitness routine without dying from boredom. Don’t you think you’d work out more if you viewed exercise as an opportunity to have fun instead?
So how do we start changing the way we work out? First, I suggest getting out of your normal routine. Play time should be full of variety and not confined by the walls of your standard gym. If you’re always on the treadmill for your cardio, why not try hiking or running outside? Sign up for an obstacle race or charity event. Break up the monotony.
How about getting your competitive juices flowing? Can you create a friendly contest between coworkers or colleagues to see who can work out the most during a month or lose the most weight? If you want to have fun instead of exercise, unleash that inner athlete inside of you. I think one of the reasons CrossFit-like gyms have done so well is because they create an environment of challenge and competition.
And lastly, I think you should be able to throw things, kick things, sprint, strike, punch and jump while you’re working out. Bring back that child-like spirit of movement. While you may not move as quickly or without pain like you did when you were younger, you didn’t become a different person. That child is still inside of you, and you deserve to move with it! Don’t be afraid to integrate some functional movements into your workouts. If you need help with this type of training please ask one of the qualified trainers around you. Maybe you can sign up for a group exercise class at your gym that uses functional movements like this!
So now you have some ideas to try the next time you have to work out. Why not spend the hour or two you’ve designated as a time to have fun? Go find that younger version of yourself and actually enjoy your time filled with play!