We live in a material world (and I am a material girl) and as much as we may not like to admit it, we all have a bit of vanity in us; especially this time of year. As summer draws nearer, and clothing becomes more minimal, some of us may be looking to head back to the dreaded “g” word: gym to make sure we look our best. But gyms are filled with hulking anthropomorphized Greek gods whose biceps tend to be the size of my waist, and if you’re not part of that genetic super-species, walking through the front doors may be daunting.
Here’s a revolutionary idea: throw out the gym membership and throw yourself into the world. Why spend your time in a room with sweaty people when you can be active and having fun outside…with sweaty people? Don’t just move your weighted workout outdoors (though that’s a fantastic option), change the way you define a workout. Skip the gym, and have some fun.
THE PARK IS THE PLACE
Ok, you want to exercise, but it’s a sunny, 74° Saturday and, be honest with me here, under what circumstances would you want to be inside? That’s what I thought. Grab a friend, grab a ball (or a Frisbee) and head on out to the park. If my own experience is any indication, what may start out as a leisurely toss will soon evolve into one, or both, of you running around and throwing as far as possible. Within just a few minutes your heart rate will climb and you’ll start sweating. What are those telltale signs of? Oh yeah, exercise.
You don’t even need to bring anything to the park to get your sweat on. On a nice day, you’re guaranteed to spot at least 17 million people (slight exaggeration) playing some team-oriented game in the park. Just mosey on over and ask if you can join. Hell, you may even make some new friends, that’s always fun.
(Bonus points: have a dog? Chase it around for a while. Guaranteed that you will tire before the pup does.)
I don’t mean games like baseball or Frisbee. I mean games that kids play, like capture the flag, freeze tag, or even dodgeball. When was the last time you played one of those games? Middle school? That’s far too long and you need to assemble your friends to get a game together. Not only will it be the most fun you’ve had in ages, it’ll also be the most fun you’ve had while exercising since you were in… middle school (and minus the extra angst and hormones).
Ok, I lied. Remember when I said playing tag, or capture the flag as an adult would be the most fun you’ve had while exercising? (you should, I said it like 100 words ago)? Well, it turns out, due to new evidence that has come to light, I can no longer claim that to be true.
As part of this new evidence, I would like to introduce exhibit A: the water balloon.
[Pause for raucous applause]
Go out and buy a couple hundred water balloons and hand them out to your friends, your roommates, your lovers, and the random people around you. I am willing to bet a few things will happen: 1) their days will immediately improve, 2) a smile will appear as if from nowhere, and 3) a water balloon fight, the likes of which you have [probably] never seen before, will materialize right in front of your eyes.
(Environmentalist hack: replace the water balloons with water guns for similar results and less waste.)
JOIN A SUMMER REC LEAGUE
There are rec leagues all over the place that you can join and play softball, football, ultimate Frisbee, tennis, etc. The best thing about these leagues is they are usually more for fun than winning (though some leagues do skew toward winning), and there is a strong likelihood that you may be joining a beer league.
Working out isn’t just about weights and treadmills and trainers and monolithic humans, it’s about staying active and having fun. Do both this season and feel the difference.
Until next time – tag, you’re it.