When’s the Last Time You Went out to Recess?
Copyright 2006 Dr. Eileen SilvaDo you face workouts and exercise with dread and misery? Do you avoid them whenever possible, or perhaps altogether? Do you pass your mirror quickly to avoid those feelings of guilt that come when you see how out of shape you have become? Unfortunately, you are among thousands of Americans who have come to view hard work and exercise with such feelings. As our nation becomes more and more obese, more adults view exercise as just too much work. But, I would like to remind you that you didn’t always feel that way about exercise . . .Remember recess? Remember playtime outside? Remember hours of running and climbing, swimming and playing ball? Talk about exercise!!! Yet, you didn’t call that work . . . you called it play! In fact, for many of us, it was the highlight of our day to escape school, chores, or homework and go out to play. As adults, however, exercise has become the dreaded workout that we schedule, dread, and force ourselves to do. What happened to the pleasure of play, of outdoor exercise, of companionship in outdoor games? Somewhere along the way, it became the hated gym class, then dreary 1-2-3-4 exercises done alone in your room, then the dreaded visits to the nearby gym with sweaty spandex, tired muscles, and the defeatism of watching those perfect bodies across the room effortlessly running through their maintenance routines.Forcing yourself to diligently face the 1-2-3-4’s, the sweaty gyms, the lonely hours of driving yourself to complete that exercise program may finally get you in shape, but could there be a more cheery way to get there? Must you face exercise as you would face a dreaded foe, full of guilt, dread, and defeatism? Could you accomplish your goals with the same pleasure and enjoyable companionship that you experienced as a child at play? I believe you could. Here are a few ideas that might help you regain those happy feelings.When taking your children to the playground, PLAY! Race them around the obstacle course, do chin-ups on the bars, push the merry-go-round, run races with the kids, ride bikes, and play ball with them. As time goes by and you build up your stamina, you will be able to not only race and play with your children, but you will actually become a challenge for them. Your children will be thrilled with your attention and participation, and you will burn calories.Try teaming up with a child or a friend for yoga classes, dance classes, or hiking. Build relationships as you build muscles and endurance. Join other parents and kids for team events, walking tours, or skating parties. Get to know your neighbors; even raise money through your events for your favorite charities. Take part in three-legged races at picnics, swimming races, and bicycling tours with your kids. You will build memories as your build a healthy body.Who says only the little leagues can play ball? Dust off that old ball glove or bowling ball. Join an adult ball team or swim team, tennis team or bowling league. You don’t have to be a professional to enjoy a good game, and you can learn to play that game you have been watching for so long on the sidelines. As you practice and participate in sports, you work your body, build muscles, and burn calories while focusing on the results of your game, rather than how long you have been exercising, and the resulting body benefits will seem like an extra bonus for having a good time.Allow yourself to play . . . and to enjoy playing. Why “work-out” when you can accomplish the same goals by going “out to play?” Changing your attitude towards your exercise time can also change your attitude towards your health. As you begin to see changes in your physical strength, endurance, and muscle tone, you may be encouraged to consider a healthier diet or rest schedule, or perhaps even dropping some unhealthy habits, like smoking.Remember running through the meadow with the soft grasses brushing against your legs and the butterflies and birds fluttering up before you? Remember the wind racing through hair as you bicycled down a hill? The hills are still there, and the wind still races. You can still enjoy those feelings, that euphoria of feeling good, playing hard, and enjoying the world of outdoors that you enjoyed as a child.Escape some of those dreaded workouts! Schedule yourself some play-outs! Play yourself healthy!
When’s the Last Time You Went out to Recess?
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