Exercise Tip: Find Your Inner Child

Have you ever noticed that children are at their best when given the space & freedom to move in the way they choose? My boys, like many children, are happiest when they are outside exploring. No restrictions. They are the kids you take to the park to play on the slides & swings, but instead they end up wandering down a path to pick up rocks and run wild. Free.

I am the same way. I don’t like to be restricted to a stationary machine and prefer most of my activity to be done outdoors or in a chill setting inside. For me, being outdoors is my ultimate place of motivation, serenity and joy. Whether I'm leading a workout for other people, running trails or playing a game with my toddler - being outside adds to that natural endorphin rush that comes with exercise. 

It doesn’t feel like a task.

Just like kids, different activities make us happy. That's why I always recommend thinking back to childhood. What activities did you love to do when you were younger? Chances are, you can find something in your adult life that is similar and motivates you to move. 

And, who says you must have a membership to the local gym or a punch pass to a class? I’m of the mind that exercise doesn’t have to be so regimented and mundane. You don’t have to ride a bike to nowhere or do multiple sets of reps to log your activity. And, if you dread the impending workout - it's less likely you'll be motivated to do it.

It’s all about doing something you love.

Something that MOVES you. Both mentally and physically. 

So stop trying to do what everyone else is doing, and start listening in to what works for you. Find what gets you out the door because you enjoy it, not because it’s something you have to do. Because, let's be honest - you'll continue to hit the snooze button every morning if that's how you feel about your current form of exercise. 

Here are six ideas to help you tap into your inner child.

Wild at heart. If this was you growing up, it’s easy to find that spirit again. Lace up your hiking shoes, head to some local trails and get to exploring. Not only is hiking great for your cardio conditioning and working a lot of major muscle groups - but it is also fantastic for your mind. There is nothing better than being out in nature, taking in the fresh air and spending a little time in your head. It feeds into your adventurous spirt and gives you a challenge.

Monkeying around. Did you love climbing the poles, swinging from monkey bars and doing flips off of the swings at the park? Then go do that! Head to your local park and test your strength and endurance. Climb some stairs, throw in some planks and test your limits. If you're lucky like me, a few school-aged kids will join you! Then the next time you watch American Ninja Warrior you’ll have an appreciation for what they are up against.

Spinning wheels. We all experienced learning how to ride a bike (some better than others), but if you haven’t gotten on a bike in a long time give yourself time to get used to it again. Just remember, as Albert Einstein said, to keep your balance you must keep moving. Riding a bike is a great form of exercise - you can start slow by getting on a street bike and exploring your neighborhood on a regular basis or take it further and get a road bike or mountain bike and hit the streets or trails. 

Things that bounce. If you were a weekend warrior on a sports team as a kid, why not join a league or jump back into some lessons? Soccer, tennis, basketball? I find it common for team players to have trouble getting out and doing something solo when they find so much more joy (and accountability) when with others. So, check out what your local fitness centers and clubs offer - and make that a part of your weekly routine. The team activity will likely motivate you to get in better shape so you can perform when it counts.

Just keep swimming. Were you a water kid? Did you have to be pulled from the pool kicking and screaming because you just couldn’t get enough? Then, maybe investing in a new suit, a pair of goggles and a kickboard might be a good option for you. Swimming is a great all-over workout, and its perfect for those who have joint issues or old injuries because it's low impact.

A little bit of everything. Maybe you were that kid who went from one activity to the next because you got bored with one thing. I’m a huge fan of bodyweight exercise, not only because it’s super efficient and can be done indoors our outdoors, but also because you can mix it up. Bodyweight exercise is great for core development, cardio & strength training, and there is something for everyone. If you are short on time with a crazy schedule, this type of exercise is convenient and diverse.

Whatever it is that taps into your inner child - do it. 

Dance. Play. Sprint. Be awkward. Be free.

For more tips to help get you out the door, read this blog post.