The importance of play

By , February 10, 2017 6:45 am

I’ve been running across articles promoting the importance of playful workouts recently, and it’s got me all pumped up. That’s one of my goals for every class I teach – to make it fun.

Why? Because…

  • … newcomers are more likely to adhere to a workout routine if it’s fun (and they weren’t beat down by the class).
  • … making a workout playful makes it more than just another thing to check off your list on the road to a healthier life – it makes it a part of your day to look forward to – a reward in itself.
  • … when you’re having fun, you forget how hard you’re working.
  • … when you’re having fun, time flies (you know, in case you haven’t gotten to the point of the class being a reward yet).

And so on and so on. You get the idea*!

I try to do this in my classes with the following methods:

  • The program itself – I come up with playful ways to work whatever part of the body we are focusing on for that move, and I switch it up each week so it’s not the same thing over and over.

    Bar Crawl, anyone?
  • Camaraderie – I partner people up so they can encourage and challenge one another.
  • Music – I have a large library of music to pull from, and sometimes do themed playlists. Again, I switch it up each week to keep it fresh (although I use a lot of the boxing songs on a cycle cause the beat’s so good).
  • My attitude – I try (sometimes I have an off day) to be cheerful and playful and am goofy sometimes a lot of the time (and sometimes SUPER hyper…).

Anyway, this isn’t meant to be a how-to post. I actually want to hear from YOU because I am always looking for ideas and inspiration – what are some recent workouts you’ve done lately that have been fun and playful?

*I don’t train with children, but want to mention, they’re one group you’re REALLY supposed to make things playful for – I mean, kids’ exercise is playing! And they’re supposed to get an hour of playful exercise most days of the week. And most kids don’t.

6 Responses to “The importance of play”

  1. Anne says:

    Oh gosh, I can’t remember the last time I had a fun, playful workout 😉 I loved the playlist this morning, and do always like partner stuff! I especially like any opportunity to beat each other up (boxing, fighting with body bars, etc.)!

    When I told people at work this morning that I worked out at 5am, everyone thought I was crazy for doing it – but I told them the workouts are so fun that I wouldn’t want to miss it!

    • kilax says:

      LOL! Thanks for the feedback! 🙂 I am really happy you joined our Friday crew! I hope the work meeting went ok!

      • Anne says:

        I’m really glad I joined too! Thanks for bugging me to come month after month last year 😉

        Yeah that rumor I mentioned this morning turned out to be true, so it’s been a crazy day!

  2. Kristina says:

    Now that I’m teaching middle school, there is SO much ‘play-based’ planning that I try to incorporate. I can’t do it for everything, but it really does break up the class, both mentally AND physically (and that physical piece is SO important!).
    On this same topic, I was talking to another teacher – who coaches girls’ b-ball – and he was discussing the fact that the girls don’t play unless they are in-season, and how when he was a teenager, he and his friends would ALWAYS play – before and after practice, just during their free time. It made a difference b/c he didn’t see the game as just an organized sport.
    Anyway, that was a lot of random stuff about play, but it’s interesting because I actually don’t feel that I need workouts now to be playful, per se, but often instructors make classes ‘fun’ in their own way, even when they make everyone suffer. 🙂

    • kilax says:

      Oh cool! What kind of “play” things do you do that help with learning?

      I am not surprised about that stat with the b-ball. I remember I was the same with soccer and as an adult I wondered “why didn’t anyone tell us to stay in shape all year?!” I wasn’t smart enough to know it on my own, then.

      Ha ha ha, yeah, our version of fun does sometimes means suffering! Hopefully everyone can find an instructor that makes them suffer the way they want to!

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