Have you ever watched a child play? Waking up at the crack of dawn, shovel in whatever Mom or Dad make for breakfast. Rush outside to meet their friends and play all day long. Their bodies are conducive to all natural movement for long periods of time. Imagine climbing, running, hiking and playing all day long. Can your body keep up with that? This is why we as adults have become more complacent to sit on the sidelines. It is taboo to get up off your ever expanding backside and trot over to the jungle gym and have at it.
Now I have had my kids try half of my workouts. We attempted a “300” workout.
Three sets of;
20 deep squats
20 chair dips
They were able to do about half of these reps per set. They could barely keep up or last through all three sets. Yet they can outdo us on the natural movements. The movements that incorporate real motion. If you want to get technical, the movements that count, that is relevant to life.
Watch as kids play and I’m not talking about playing house. Watch them tumble and roll, jump and climb on a jungle gym, playground. All of this movement is relevant to everything in life. You can take almost anything done on a jungle gym and transplant that into any other setting. Imagine that child on the playground. Climbing up the side of the gym, jumping up onto the turret. Bear crawling through the sand pits. Think of all of those “playful” activities. How can those benefit an adult, a primal adult?
The human body is ingrained with the ability to “play”. Very few humans are born without this ability. The problem is we lose it through video games, TV and lack of support. I for one, never truly had video games to keep me company. I was fortunate enough to live in an area with a lot of parks and recreational areas. Later in life, after high school, I started to understand the lure of the TV more. I grew bigger and bigger. I became disconnected with nature and my own life. My body started the all too common protest. It started to tire easily. I lost the will to care about where the hell my belly goes. My knees went on holiday. I thought this was normal, I am getting older you know!
With my kids, I decided to keep it simple as well. Don’t make the same mistakes. But I did. We ate unhealthy, we were unhealthy. We ate from a box, we ate in a box. We loved our mountain dew and coke’s. We loved our potato chips and dip.
Now in the last year we are changing things up. Our third child, who is only one now, we started her on a more natural diet. She has very few processed foods. My oldest and middle child and I have spent more time in the outdoors this year than in our previous 11 together? We are trying to eat as natural as we can, eating all whole foods. I can see a difference in them all. My oldest is running better at Cross Country. She is feeling better about life. My middle child is more alive than ever, and the little one is…well she’s just cute.
The human diet accounts for at least 80% of you makeup. Exercise, or play, only accounts for maybe 20%. So, naturally, living this way you need to eat better than you think. But, you cannot take “Play” completely out of the equation. I like the term “train to play”. I have used it many times. For example, just a few short years ago, I had a hard time getting to the ground, let alone back up, to play with the kids. I was by no means fat, by BMI I was obese. At one point I think I was morbidly obese too. I am big boned and large, maybe thick is a good word? My composition is thick, not my head! In the 9 months since I have started to live more primally, I have lost several inches, almost 30lbs and a hell of a bad lifestyle. I can keep up with my kids now, or they can sometimes keep up with me? I have the energy to keep going all day.
I spoke of support above. This is done many ways. I cannot hone in on one all true way to get your kids off the couch. I will say that there is a really easy way, you do the same! Our kids spend so much time in our shadow; it’s almost scary how similar we get. If you spend a lot of your day on your rear in front of the TV, they will too. Don’t think it is only the time spent in front of American Idol, think of all the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, Facebook and games? Try and keep this in mind, cavemen never had chairs!
I talk about all of my “play” or exercise as scalable. Sit down and devise a play routine. Start at a subject, and work from there. Try this;
“Forage” – Take the kids for a walk and “forage” for sights, sounds and experiences. Who can see the first squirrel, find the first oak tree. Make it interesting and change it up every time. This will get all of you out of the house and engaged in activity.
“Gather” – I tend to do this in the spring and summer when we can actually “gather” something edible. We loved going to our local wooded area and “gathering” raspberries and wild strawberries. We gathered rocks that were cool. Go to a local park or state park and “Gather” things from a treasure list. Acorn, walnut, red leaf, green leaf, etc…
“Hunt” – True play, hunt for one another. Like hide and go seek. Use the skills of a tracker, hunt the prey. Devise your own course or play freely. Lots of fun and keeps all very motivated to not be eaten.
I really hope this helps. I know my kids and I would not be the same had we not decided to change our ways.
Let me know what you do to keep up with your kids? Maybe we can post and share these thoughts.