____The last time I can honestly say I remember having fun moving my body was when I was, ligit, playing on a playground.
____The last time I can honestly say I remember having fun moving my body was when I was 5 years old, or maybe younger.
____The only time I can honestly say I remember having fun moving my body was when there where no rules about how I should move my body.
____The only time I can honestly say I remember having fun moving my body was when there was no reason to do it.
____The only time I can honestly say I had fun moving my body was all of the above.
Do try this at home: Ask a preschool-aged child to stand 10 yards or so away from you then stand back and ask them to come to you and watch what happens. (If you have a small child, go ahead and use yours, otherwise, borrow a neighbor’s.) Chances are they will skip, run, gallop or jump like a kangaroo in your direction. What they won’t do is try to figure out a way to exert as little energy as possible to get to you, here’s why:
They like to move.
Watch the face of a small child as they play on the playground. Children delight in moving their bodies because…well, because it’s a fun thing to do! Crazy, right??? But something changes. The way kids feel about movement, (i.e., exercise) significantly and permanently changes, and not in a good way, when they enter school and/organized sports. The creative-based, giggle-producing movement which, I believe, is intrinsic, gets pushed aside and is replaced with a purpose-driven desire to achieve something, many times a grade or a team win. The reason to move changes from something fun to do to something important to achieve.
In schools or on team sports, movement is defined by team wins, having the right skills, and specific outcomes. For the majority of kids, it doesn’t take long for their subconscious to figure out their aptitude is sub par, which translates into not being a part of the talented, sports-people group. Thinking you don’t have what it takes is hard, but thinking others think it, is harder.
I know, I know, participating in sports does good things for children, like teaching them about self-discipline and teamwork. But I’m on the other side, the side that sees what those childhood messages and experiences do to grown-up people. I believe there is a direct line between a child’s experience with organized, adult-run activities and their less then enthusiastic desire to exercise as adults.
If you are not, nor ever have been, a person who likes to exercise, I’d like to give you one piece of advice: Remove all the rules to movement. I’m not suggesting you start dancing, or skipping or doing somersaults around your neighborhood, unless, of course, you want to. I’m just saying go back to that place where you enjoyed moving your body and maybe go for a walk; don’t put any parameters of time, speed or proper form around your walk, just get outside, maybe, and look around and walk some. And if no one is looking, or even if they are, try a little gallop, or maybe even a cartwheel or two.