Learning to Play Again: Fun not Exercise

As a kid i’d spend hours jumping on the trampoline, cartwheeling in my backyard, going to gymnastics classes and well just playing. And even without trying this made me fit and I never had injuries except maybe shin splints once i started wearing regular running shoes. As an adult however i’ve always struggled to really get a sustainable healthy exercise routine going. I’ve had times when i’ve had a good streak – with running primarily and very occasionally with going to the gym, doing workout videos or weight lifting. But apart from running and that was only for the brief time i was fit enough and injury free (and not pregnant), i’ve not really enjoyed it and only liked the feeling afterwards and not the process.

So i’ve decided to change my perspective on things. I’m quitting exercise! The word exercise to me is too attached to negative connotations – of pain, of a thing a ‘should’ be doing but feel guilty i don’t do enough of, of attempts at weight-loss. Play on the other hand a world full of fun, of happy memories as a child, of activities done simply for their enjoyment without a specific goal in mind. Therefore i am no longer exercising i’m playing.

Playing of course means different things to different people and it might take a while to workout what is fun. I think i’m going to look back at what i enjoyed as a child to guide me for the most part. So i’m going to be enrolling in an adult gymnastics class probably around the end of the year (after my thesis is handed in). But in the meantime i might do some mucking about at home to get my body a bit more conditioned for it. So i’ll be breaking out the fitball and just having fun with it (i also used to enjoy that as a child with my mum’s one). I think my son’ playmat might be perfect for practicing some things like handstands and whatnot too.

Some other things i’m thinking about trying is finding a unoccupied children’s playground and going there with my son (he’s going to be great for a reason to be there) or one of those adult outdoor public gyms if i can find one. I used to really enjoy bars in particular as a kid.

And then of course i’m putting playing pokemon go and ingress in this category as well.

I’m also kind of tempted to see if maybe i could some elements of parkour. Not living in a city that might limit me a bit. But the playground might be a good location to try some things out.

Will it the gym type stuff hurt at first – i imagine so. My body is definitely not what it used to be. I’m about 10 years older than the last time i did anything gymnastics like. I’ve also had a baby since then! But i can still vividly remember the joy of flying through the air in flips, of swinging on bars. That will get me going. And if it ultimately isn’t fun. Well then i’ll try something else.

How do you play?

 

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