Remember when you were a kid and you longed to be an adult? But once we are officially grown up, life becomes complicated, stressful and overwhelming – there’s endless to do lists, bills to pay and the state of the world to worry about, with work stress, children (and parents!) to look after, and that’s often all before we’ve even got as far as breakfast each day!
When you factor in trying to eat healthily and making it to an exercise class once every so often, the pressure from seeing what everyone else is up to and wondering whether you’re truly doing all that you ever wanted with your life or just scraping by, it’s no wonder that this year the big new trend is all about exercising the way we did back when we were kids.
It’s not a big surprise really; first we had adult colouring books which were soothing shattered souls and providing an easy shortcut to mindfulness a couple of years ago, then last year we had a sudden resurgence in summer camps for adults (complete with lake swims, camp fires, eating melted marshmallows, boating, surfboarding, bonfires, DJs, and booze).
And now, working out is all about keeping your inner-child happy. This means capturing that magical, carefree way we felt before we hit our teens.
“When we were children we were naturally active,” fitness instructor Jessica Jones tells Lumity Life. “It was a case of getting up in the morning, bouncing out of bed and rushing off to play with our friends. Fitness classes at school were often quite boring by comparison because they were so regimented. Try doing the things you enjoyed as a kid for one week with the same mindset you had as a child, where you’re living in the moment and not worried about what you look like or what else you might have to do that day.”
Jones says that if you used to love gymnastics, to head to your local park and do some cartwheels, or to grab your friends and spend a day playing ball games, like rounders, French cricket, or even boules – which you can do while sharing a bottle of wine in the open air, French-style.
“Throw all rules out of the window, wear what you like, do it for as long as you like and forget about whether it’s cardio, or strength training or whatever,” she explains. “I guarantee you will up your happiness levels significantly and you will probably start incorporating some of it into your usual workout routines over the summer. Instead of pounding the treadmill in the gym on a Saturday, you’ll maybe go roller skating, trampolining, or horse riding.
“Exercise should be about making you happy and the feelings you get from jumping around and moving your body in a carefree, playful way.”
With that in mind, here’s some ideas to get you started:
Put A Spring In Your Step
Remember when you were so full of joie de vivre that you often found yourself skipping down the street? The next time you’re out for a walk, or a run, try skipping. Notice how happy it makes you feel. If you feel silly, then you can always grab a skipping rope and do some skipping at home. If you haven’t actually done this since you were a child you might find it a lot harder than you remember. Katy Perry packs a skipping rope when she’s travelling so she has an easy way to fit ten minutes of cardio into each day. It’s a clever idea: If you can manage two ten minute sessions per day, that’s a whopping 1000 calories you have burned in one week.
Ride Like the Wind
There’s no better feeling than jumping on a horse and going off for a hack through woodland trails, then galloping across hills and, if you’re lucky, finishing it off with a ride along a beach. Grab a group of friends and make a day of it one weekend now it’s springtime and the woods are like a carpet of bluebells. It’s a guaranteed way to have fun. An hour of horse riding burns up to 600 calories and if you feel your thighs are in need of a workout, then this will certainly do the trick.
Jump For Joy
Bouncing on a trampoline is pure, carefree fun. Try the big ones that lucky kids have in their back gardens and talk a friend into joining you. It burns more calories than jogging and it’s a sure-fire way to make you giggle uncontrollably. Indoor trampolining parks are popping up everywhere at the moment, so you can do it even if it’s raining and you shouldn’t have to look too far to find one.
Swim When You’re Winning
Instead of doing endless lengths of your local pool, try swimming the way kids do it – diving in and out, floating on your back and really enjoying how it feels to be weightless. Summer is not far away, so before long swimming in the sea and jumping in and out of lakes before enjoying a picnic on a blanket is a really inexpensive day out. Pretending to be a mermaid is optional.
Cycle Away Your Woes
Going car free is becoming increasingly popular thanks to apps like uber and public transport improving. The expense and cost to the environment are making ditching your car a surprisingly pain-free option. Having a bike and using it to pop to the shops, or to visit your friends is a great way to build some exercise into your day. And there’s another benefit too: Going off for a bike ride with a friend and seeing where the day takes you, the way we all did as kids is a really fun and healthy way to spend a Saturday or a Sunday. Depending on how fast you go, you can burn up to 600 calories an hour.
Get Your Skates On
If you’re a child of the seventies and eighties there’s a chance that you’ll be an expert with roller boots. The kind with four wheels and a rubber ‘brake’ at the front. You can still buy these, and they’re not as uncomfortable, or as heavy, as inline roller blades. In Nice in the south of France, you’ll often see people in their eighties whizzing along the wide pavement that lines the sea, called the Promenade des Anglais on skates on a sunny day.
With solid proof that being happy and healthy makes you live longer, why let the kids have all the fun?
Ready for more? New York-based fitness instructor Bethany Meyers tells us her tips for how to love exercise, or check out the A-list workout that you can do without going anywhere near a gym, And here’s why you should consider throwing away your weighing scales and heading to your local park instead.