Intense Play – The Other Way To Work Out
Glory Days of Childhood
Before I begin, I would like to point out I have a new blog theme installed. While I’m not sure how much I like it (it seems a little dull, personally), I’m going to stick with it for now.
In elementary school, recess was always my favorite session. In fact, it was probably the favorite for most people.
But then middle school and high school came, and recess was replaced by “lunch.” Most of the people I know also started getting fatter. Lifestyles started to change. Recess became only a faint memory in the minds of everyone, including mine. Girls got into aerobic activities like yoga and guys started working out. When I thought about this in a larger scope, it became clear that these pretty much became replacements for what recess once gave us.
Working Out vs. Recess
Recess didn’t make anyone’s muscles big (or at least I don’t know of anyone who got muscle growth out of it), but it kept the kids who actually did something in shape. Recess is why little kids who like to play tag and run around are just so dang toned. Of course, there’s not much muscle for a little kid to tone, but toning doesn’t happen by itself and I believe recess plays a large part of that during childhood.
I’m not discarding workout routines or working out. I believe to develop muscles in concentrations and to get the body you want, you have to work out to develop the shape you want. However, I believe that people who simply want to stay in shape do not need to go to the gym all the time. Staying in shape is not a physical state, it’s a lifestyle. I know lots of people who go to the gym all the time when they could be having fun and accomplishing virtually the same thing. For people interested in some of the activities you can do that simulate the gym, I have provided two below, all of which are based on my personal experience and require little to no equipment (and do not suffer too much from the fact that some people are very good at certain sports).
Tag is a very simple game that is full of amazingly complex strategies and tactics. On the surface, playing tag is almost like running sprints around a track. Add in a few obstacles, and suddenly you are climbing, jumping, pulling – pretty much getting a full body workout – while having an intense amount of fun at the same time.
An ideal tag location is a playground or play-place with set boundaries and several connected or closely-placed platforms. Boundaries are important because you don’t want people running off in one direction as fast and as far as they can to avoid being tagged. Platforms, or climbable obstacles, are important because they are what provide a workout to other parts of the body.
This game requires a basketball plus a court (who doesn’t have a bball court in their local area?). However, basketball develops coordination and the movements in the game can be considered equivalent to plyometrics (jump) training. Some studies also show this game enhances growth when you are in the growing years.
Perhaps the greatest thing one can learn from basketball that you cannot learn in a gym is situational awareness. Basketball forces you to think, either consciously or subconsciously, about the other players, the other team, your position relative to both the ball and the goal, and how the goal is positioned (or how high it’s raised). The development of this skill is critical to daily life, regardless of whether you are an athlete or someone who simply wishes to stay in shape.
The two above are only two examples, but the truth is that every physically-demanding game will give you some kind of work out. However, not all work outs are equally beneficial, and, depending on your fitness level, some may not be beneficial at all. For people who simply want to stay in shape, most of them could easily stop hitting the gym and replace their workouts with friends and fun. As we go on about life, we should always try to remember the Hey Day Entertainment Center motto: You don’t stop playing games because you grow old, you grow old because you stop playing games.