When we’re young, there is no distinction between work and play. Life is mostly about playing and learning. As we get older and take on more responsibilities, there’s a tendency to leave that behind and compartmentalize our roles: student, wife, mother, employee, employer, volunteer, and so on. What gets left behind? You!
In a previous article, I talked about ways to get your whole family into fitness. This month, I’m going to talk about you and share some workout secrets for a lifelong fitness plan. If you’re a young adult (i.e. Millennial), this article is especially for you.
As children, we’re naturally inclined to play and be active in order to learn about the world around us. Whether it’s playtime at day care, recess at school, or after-school sports – physical movement and play seem to come to us naturally. Did you have a favorite sport or game? Perhaps it was riding bikes, baseball, soccer, football, golf, swimming, running, or gymnastics?
The teenage years begin the transition process from child to young adult. High school, part-time jobs, hormones, and (hopefully) athletics begin to take time, attention, and money away from simple playtime. Today’s teens have the additional distraction of cell phones, tablets, and the Internet. It’s also during the teenage years that many people begin to skip recreation, thereby leaving out an important way to maintain mental and physical fitness.
College students or recent graduates sometimes drift even further from recreation – focusing on school, work, relationships, and money. Hello, Millennials – I was there once too! Many of you who read this magazine see us and some of the other Fayette Woman staff at local 5K races. Do you know the most competitive age groups? Those over 40! The least competitive age groups? 20-29! In fact, if you’re a Millennial and show up to a race, you’re likely to win an award.
As we enter our 30’s and beyond, sometimes it dawns on us to take better care of ourselves, while others continue to drift away from healthy habits. It doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, if you can integrate play with work and life responsibilities, you’ll develop an overall higher quality of life. Maintaining physical fitness doesn’t have to be about “working out.” Reclaim your right to play and go back to what you did as a kid. It’s never too late.
What did you enjoy doing as a kid? Start with that or if you’re still enjoying that – don’t stop! Make time for yourself each and every day to do something you enjoy for overall better health and wellness. Invite your friends and family to enjoy it with you – walking, riding bikes, yard work, pick-up soccer games in the park, running, kayaking, swimming, etc.
Your lifelong fitness plan can be as simple as starting over (or) continuing with what you enjoyed as a kid. Life makes no distinction about work and play, why should you?