How to reframe exercise as play
Guess how many resources exist around the word “exercise” on Google?
In about 0.70 seconds you can find 1,590,000,000 results! That is a LOT of information.
With all this advice out there, I knew that when I wrote The Play Book: How To Get In The Habit Of Good Health, I didn’t want to write a traditional book about exercise.
Instead, I took all that I’ve learned about one habit – exercise – and reframed it in the simplest form.
Play as exercise.
As author James Clear recently said, “the trajectory of your life bends in the direction of your habits.”
I genuinely see play as a habit that anyone can do regardless of confidence, fitness level, or social status to help manage their health.
Much like free play, the instructions for exercise are not “rules” set in stone. They are guidelines – a suggestive framework for being your healthiest – that you can adapt to make your own.
We are so bombarded with different rules around exercise that it can be overwhelming. But, I’m here to teach you that you are free to play within them.
When working and coaching with clients, I love helping them be clear on the long-term outcome of why they want to exercise and to untangle all the rules they’ve internalized.
I tailor habits to help my clients reach their goals.
Some of them want a training program for a specific outcome like a 10k race or train a certain way and apply it to building muscle.
However, instead of training for a competition, others want to train for the game of life.
Why would someone want to train for their life?
Well, for example, if you’re going to age with function and vitality, you need to be able to do more than walk.
You also need to lift, reach, and bend (these are called functional movements). The only way to maintain this ability is by practice.
We have to prepare our bodies for all of these situations continually.
The best place to start is by making your plan for exercise fun so that it feels playful and you will show up more often.
When you are more consistent, beautiful things start happening in your body like:
- Reduced stress
- Feeling younger and happier
- Keeping your memory sharp
- Improved your sleep
- Strengthened heart and muscles
- Preserved mobility
- Preventing a multitude of diseases like type II diabetes, certain cancers and dementia
Fun is crucial, especially when it seems like you live the same day repeatedly in quarantine. If you want to try 28 days of play, I did a whole video series on it. Watch here to get some ideas!
Today, and every day, why not start incorporating play into your day, and you can simultaneously begin improving your strength, cardio, mobility, and longevity.
Playing is an incredible opportunity to find joy in life and engage our mind, body, and spirit in the relentless pursuit of happiness.
How are you going to play today?
The Play Book
15 EASY Ways To Play When You #stayhome
Packed with practical information, play expert and health coach Janet Omstead shares her tips for moving a little more often during the day.