Play as exercise or exercise as play?

I was recently introduced to the book The Exuberant Animal by Frank Forencich and whilst initially I wasn’t sure now I completely love it and would recommend it to everyone who wants to change their life and their world.

The concept is simple and straight forward and like most pieces of good advice you recognise instantly where it is coming from; that movement, exercise, physicality should be above all else, fun and should reflect not the constraints of the gym (cardio machines, resistance machines etc) but the actions and functions our bodies were designed to do.

In our modern society we have adopted too much of a ‘one size fits all’ mentality and as such our media promotes the image that there is only one way to get fit – by going to the gym.  So we trot along to our local facility and if we are really (un)lucky we get a trainer who inducts us into the bewildering range of torture-like fixed path resistance machines with an emphasis on getting loads of cardio done (for women) and heavy weights (for men).

So our gyms are full of  ranks of treadmills and cross-trainers occupied by women doing endless hours of cardio and never lifting weights despite the health advantages and the weight rooms are full of pumped up guys determined to show how macho they are by how much they can bench press but all the time not using proper form – it’s all about how you look when you lift the weight not whether you are doing it properly.  If we are lucky some of these people will last more than a few weeks or months and some of them, if we are REALLY lucky, will get interested enough to understand that there is another way to improve your fitness.

Check out the video below

Yes, its different to what we all do every day at the gym, yes its odd, a bit scary and a bit “omg I can’t do that” combined with “just how silly would I look” but the one thing it is, is free, spontaneous and functional.  It comprises the sort of movements we either all do or need to do and whilst I cannot hold my hand up and say “yes this is what I do, we should all embrace it” I believe it has some interesting ideas we could and should incorporate into our daily workouts.

And above all it speaks to me that we should all embrace the little bit scary, the outside of our comfort zone activities every now and again.  If we don’t push ourselves and try new things, how do we know just how much we can do?  Its only by doing that we can truly know how great we are.

Be inspired, embrace the change……

 

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