Fitness Through Finding Your Inner Kid
Have you ever noticed how children seem to never stop moving? Even if they are just walking from point A to B, they often skip, hop, or jump along the way. They are constantly squatting down, crawling under or over things, and climbing anything that will hold them. Sometimes just watching the energy of a small child is enough to exhaust an adult! It’s sad to admit, but it seems that as we start to age, and not even reaching old age, our day to day movement starts to slow down.
Imagine you saw a 50-year-old skipping down the road in a suit, briefcase in hand, and leapfrogging the parking meters while heading to work. You may wonder if they are okay (or maybe you just smile), but it would be out of the ordinary for sure. I noticed on a beach trip not that long ago (the ultimate playground) that you rarely see adults body surfing the waves, or digging holes in the sand, or playing Frisbee. No, you typically see the kids doing these activities and the majority of adults are sitting in lounge chairs, maybe with the occasional walk to the water to cool off, and then back to relax, often with a beverage in tote. Now don’t get me wrong. The day-to-day can certainly be draining at times, but this seems to be the general pattern as we get older. We move less.
Why is this? I think some of it is that when many people think about picking up an exercise plan or starting to go the gym, it feels like work -- another task that has to be completed in the day. What if the key to fitting in more movement and exercise is to simply start with an activity that you loved as a kid? If you played softball or kickball growing up, then find an adult league in your town and join in! Maybe ultimate frisbee is more your speed or even, dare I say, Pokemon Go (I’m still trying to understand this phenomenon, but it certainly gets people moving and adding more steps in their day than they would likely get otherwise). Whatever it is, find a game that you loved and pick it back up. It’s amazing how much exercise you get, without realizing it, and all the while having fun and socializing. If you have small children, another silly way to get some movement in is to play a version of follow the leader. Except in this instance, you literally follow your toddler or child around the house and every little movement they do (every hop, skip, twirl), even without their prompt, you do. I did this with my nephews a few times, and they think it’s hilarious while I got a nice little mini-workout in the process ☺!
Photo: Amy Lisbeth
To give you an idea of the calorie burning benefits of play, below is a list (based off a 150 pound individual) of various activities and sports and an estimate of what you might burn in an hour. So get out there and PLAY.
- Riding a bike (moderate intensity) = approx. 120 calories
- Ballroom dancing = approx. 135 calories
- Pick-up basketball game = approx. 350 calories (approx. 475 if actual up temp game)
- Ultimate Frisbee = approx. 475 calories
- Golf, walking and carrying clubs = approx. 240
- Kickball = approx. 400 calories
- Jumping on a trampoline = approx. 170 calories
- Kayaking = approx. 270 calories