Ditch Exercise for Playtime

Holy cow!

Can you believe 2014 is nearly half over?

Has your year been unfolding as you envisioned on New Year's Day? 

Many of us resolve to exercise more, yet struggle to do so.

I always encourage my clients to engage in physical activities that they consider as joyful movement, not as exercise. For many, the word "exercise" equates to:

  • punishment for what you ate or weigh
  • a dreaded chore that you force yourself to do 
  • boredom; multitasking required to make it bearable (e.g., magazine reading, TV watching)
  • something you do because you should, not because it feels good 
  • a necessary evil for obtaining your ideal body or health

Whereas, joyful movement is, well, enjoyable! It's something fun that you really want to do--no arm-twisting required.

The Power of Playtime
Well, as it turns out, a recent study found that when half the participants were told to think of their assigned workout as "playtime" instead of exercise, they ate healthier.

The other half, who were assigned the same workout except it was framed as "exercise," ate higher calorie foods, like soda and candy, post-workout. And, they reported feeling more fatigued and grumpy. 

Basically, if you think exercise sucks, you're more likely to reward yourself for doing it with treats.

Schedule Some Serious Fun
If you don't enjoy your chosen activity, it's going to be pretty darn hard to call it playtime. 

I'm a huge fan of finding forms of movement that are truly pleasurable. By doing so, you're more likely to stick with it. After all, we're wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain.

You'll also be less stressed thinking about it and doing it. Remember, a relaxed state is the optimal state for overall health.

There are a gazillion ways to move your body. If you hate running, stop today. If the elliptical machine or stationary bike bore you to tears, ditch 'em. If the gym is a drag, head outdoors. 

Discover what's seriously fun to you and schedule this "playtime" into your calendar. You may just find it's a lot easier to get up at 6 a.m. to play!

To Playtime!