Admittedly, that title might immediately make you conjure up images in your mind’s eye of toddlers on treadmills, but not all exercise is built equally. There’s no doubt that if you were to try and persuade a five-year-old that pedaling to nowhere or twisting their body into uncomfortable shapes was considered fun, you’d probably be on a hiding to nothing.
However, as kids, we did exercise. We did it a lot, in fact. There’s a pretty good chance that at least every summer, you probably tried to persuade your Mom on more than one occasion to let you exercise for a bit longer.
Except, we didn’t call it exercise. We didn’t call it “essential things to do to stave off a heart condition” because, with the blissful ignorance of youth, we didn’t really know (or care) what a heart condition was. We just called it… having fun. Playing with friends.
It was, however, exercise. Went down to the skatepark with your friends? You were burning 230 calories per hour, which is quite the cardio workout. Let your little sister persuade you into playing jump rope with her? That was a cool 300 calories an hour. Just ran around, getting into scrapes the way all kids did? Easily 150 calories per hour.
Then we grow up, and we stop doing it. We swap having fun with our friends for slaving away on a treadmill so we feel we can earn a half hour in front of the TV. Shouldn’t exercise – so essential, so vital – find a way to be fun again, even when you’re an adult?
Play With Your Kids
The easiest entry route into this is to play with your kids the way that you played when you were a child. There’s nothing wrong with an afternoon spent gaming when it comes to bonding, but when the weather is nice, why not grab the best outdoor basketball you can find and shoot hoops for awhile (burning around 200 calories per hour)? Even incredibly silly (but nevertheless enjoyable) water balloon fights are going to crunch you towards the amount of physical activity you’re meant to do per day.
Competition is a very good thing, especially if it encourages you to “work out” for longer. The inverted commas are 100% necessary there, because no one would consider playing air hockey (for example) to be a workout… but it can be. 250 calories per hour is nothing to sniff at. Air hockey not your game? How about bowling – it’s only 115 calories per hour, but do it for long enough in an attempt to beat a foe on another team, and you’ll want to keep going and going.
The crux of the matter is that exercise is important. That’s something we know; it’s an established fact that gets repeated to us often enough. There’s no reason for it to be dull, though – running to stand still, rowing an imaginary boat… they’re not stimulating. Why not make exercise fun and give your mind and your body a workout?