Remember when we used to love exercising? Except it probably wasn’t called exercising. It was more likely called play or getting some fresh air and it was something we wanted to do until we were called indoors by our mothers.
Where has the fun gone in exercise? Look at any gym and you’ll see rows of grim-faced people battling through a running session on the treadmill with one eye on the clock to tick off each passing second. Did they once love playing with their friends by running around a park, kicking balls in a field, doing cartwheels in the grass?
I recall going to Las Vegas some years ago with my gymnastics trainer and we decided to do an acro workout in the corner of a huge gym. We were standing on each others’ shoulders and getting up to all sorts of fun tricks. Before we knew it, all of the treadmill users had gathered around us to watch the fun and ask how they could learn to do that?
But I also worry that not enough children are exercising and when the teen years hit, forget about it, perpetuated through the 20s and 30s. It’s often not until health dramas hit in the 40s that exercise becomes essential.
That’s why it’s so important for kids to play sport and have fun. Not only for the physical benefits but it also teaches the importance of discipline, co-ordination, competitiveness and the life lesson of winning and losing. Team sports teach empathy and how to work well with other people. There are so many lessons to learn in activities and especially the confidence it brings.
It’s the same for adults. I used to train people who swore they would never do a headstand but after one session with me, sure enough, they’d be standing on their heads. They couldn’t believe it and, sure, they were scared, but they did it and felt a great sense of accomplishment afterwards.
Building confidence in your abilities builds confidence in your body. That makes you enjoy the exercise more, develop greater trust in your body to achieve what you need and maybe even stretch it a bit further next time. Facing your fears, conquering them and celebrating your achievements is one of the greatest outcomes of physical activity.
You can call it exercise, sport, gym or just fun. But it’s not to be avoided at any age.