GO OUT AND PLAY!
As a child in the 1980’s there were plenty of distractions back in the day from being physically active – Saturday morning cartoons, video games, MTV, movies on VHS, and our ‘Apple 2’ computer all competed for my attention span. It’s little wonder that authority figures like my Mom and Aunt Gail used to tell us kids repeatedly to ‘go outside and play.’ Kids (and adults) nowadays have even more competition for their eyeballs and as a result are even less active then they were 20-30 years ago.
Still, when I was told to go outside and play, I usually did so. Not because of fear, retribution, or consequences, but because of one pivotal word in the request – PLAY. And play we did. During the fall and winter we put on pads and played tackle football. In the spring we played pick up basketball and wiffleball. In the summer we rode bikes, went swimming, and played pickleball pretending we were famous tennis stars. Sometimes, we even snuck out at night and doused the neighbor’s trees with toilet paper. As a child I took the word ‘play’ seriously not just outdoors, but inside as well. At school, I frequently performed in theatrical productions and worked diligently at my full-time role as class clown.
“When it comes to exercise, we must ask why we are doing it. In the end it is about enjoying the present moment of moving our bodies.”
— Eric Stevens
Unfortunately for many, somewhere in the transition from childhood to adulthood, the word ‘play’ is replaced by the word ‘work.’ We no longer play inside or outside, we ‘workout.’ Of course this isn’t universally true and as a gym rat, I’m certainly not knocking the merits of exercise. But the point remains – the connotation of the word ‘play’ is to frolic, create, have fun, and explore. While the connotation of the word ‘work’ is to get something in exchange for something - For instance, earning money or burning calories. Look, there’s certainly nothing wrong with the desire to burn calories or make more money for that matter. But when it comes to exercise, we must ask why we are doing it. In the end it is about enjoying the present moment of moving our bodies. What a privilege and honor it is to express your physicality through play, and what a shame and limitation it would be to merely think of it as just ‘work.’ Find your inner child today and go outside (or in) and play.