We are serious people, let’s face it. Most of us wake up at least 5+ days a week to go to work. Work may be an office, a factory, a hospital, a school or it may be a stay at home mom or dad (arguably the toughest job!). We get lazy. We get a little soft around the middle. We get “out of shape.” Well, now what to do?…better start a workout program. Too often this involves early morning bootcamp or bodypump classes, maybe a huffing and puffing and hobbling run around the neighborhood. Maybe you hire a personal trainer with a set schedule you have to stick to because it’s costing you money. Whatever the case, too often “working out” or “exercise” is some sort of scheduled chore, or maybe “torture” is a better term. Some weird people (like myself) really like to “work out” in the traditional sense, but for the majority of people working out is not perceived as something fun but the “no pain no gain” mentality has been etched into their minds. They feel any benefit from exercise must come with some discomfort. Now, this can be true to a certain degree and pushing yourself EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE can lead to positive hormone responses and adaptations, but daily movement, aka “exercise”, does not have to be a painful chore that we dread day in and day out only to eventually give up on it.
Watch kids. Kids run, play and get dirty with no preconceived plan in place. They just do it. Sure, they can “organize” a neighborhood game of baseball or pickup basketball, but most of the time kids are just spontaneous. I watch my kids, for example. They are constantly on the go with their neighborhood friends. Jumping on the trampoline, sprinting around the yard, throwing a ball around, riding bikes, swimming, etc. Everything they do or play, they enjoy it. They aren’t even thinking about it. They just, well, play.
We, as adults, need to take some mental notes in watching kids and then mimic their activity. We need to “play” more. When it comes to “exercise”, which I prefer to just refer to as “movement” or “physical activity”, do something you LIKE. If you like to swim, then swim. If you like to walk, then walk and walk often. If you like to ride your bike–either leisurely or if you like to gear up in spandex and funny shoes then do whichever one you like to do. If gardening and yard work is your thing (or possibly an unavoidable chore) it counts as exercise (a riding lawnmower does NOT count!). If going to a commercial gym intimidates you, do a few of the Primal essential movements (push ups, planks, bodyweight squats, some form of a pull up) a couple of times a week. There are really no rules. Some people LIKE extreme exercise endeavors, such as Crossfit or endurance training , but neither one of these are necessary for general health and wellness. So avoid the stigma of “joining a gym” if you don’t like gyms. Just find something you like to do and do it often and do it consistently. It all counts. If you decide to run around in the yard with your kids, guess what? You exercised. And don’t let anyone tell you differently. Just get up off the couch, chair or whatever and get moving!