Life as a grownup isn’t quite what I expected all those years ago when I looked forward to the days I could wear high heels and stay up as late as I wanted. I didn’t anticipate early mornings following late nights, having to cook my own food, cleaning house, or making time to — ugh — exercise. I also never thought I’d long to be a kid again.
We can’t turn back time, but we can infuse our grownup worlds with a bit of childishness and be all the better for it.
Exercise in Disguise
We’ve all heard the exhaustive list of benefits associated with exercise: makes for a healthier heart, increases all-over fitness and tone, relieves stress, promotes clear skin, releases endorphins, etc. But let’s face it, exercise is work, sometimes monotonous work. Forget about it. Let’s have some fun instead!
• Burns fat
• Tones glutes, thighs, hips, legs, knees, and core
• Improves concentration, coordination, and flexibility
• May alleviate back pain
• Develops endurance and quickness
• Is lower impact than jumping jacks
• Enhances coordination and agility
• Has an almost endless variety of footwork combinations
• Can be easily packed and carried anywhere
• Facilitates imagining you are an amazeballs boxer (think Rocky Balboa)
• Gives you the opportunity to see, hear, and smell your world differently
• Is a low impact exercise
• Saves you money
• Gives you an excuse to buy a really, really, really nice bell
• Relieves stress
Walking a Balance Beam (or curb, short wall, railroad tracks, etc.)
• Reduces risk of injury from falls and stumbles
• Improves posture
• Develops core strength
• Looks really cute in photos
Playing Team Sports
• Improves balance and muscle strength
• May increase bone mineral density
• Offers a sense of accomplishment through skill improvement and/or winning
• May be your only excuse to take up roller derby
• Widens your social circle and leads to a sense of belonging
As a kid the worst punishment in the world was being put in time out. The solitude! The quiet! Ugh! Now? The solitude! The quiet! Gimme, gimme, gimme! Yet, trying to find the time to meditate can be just another source of stress. What to do! Be a kid, that’s what. Many children’s activities naturally promote mindfulness, or a state of filling the mind with only the task at hand, and grant you distance from daily worries and stressors.
• Gets you outside for fresh air and some vitamin D
• Requires you to take deep breaths delivering extra oxygen to the brain and leading to a calm mind, reduced heart rate, and additional clarity
• Lets you create your own private, albeit temporary, collection of tiny rainbows!
• Reduces stress
• Acts as a gateway activity to creative thinking and self-expression
• Increases hand-eye coordination while working the small, intricate muscles in the hand
• Boosts patience and enhances attention to detail
Reading Children’s Books
• Allows you to discover old ideas in light of gained experience and age
• Evokes warm memories woven around reading those books as a child
• Breaks big lessons and ideas into simple reminders
• Rekindles curiosity, wonder, and imagination
Maybe you mustered the nerve to try out for your school musical or had to set aside your love of Shakespeare while pursuing that biology degree. The point is you haven’t missed your chance. Amateur theatre is an accessible way for anyone to gain acting and stage experience disguised as simple amusement. It is also a chance to try new ways of presenting yourself to the world (think: costuming) in the safety of a like-minded group of people.
• Has an altruistic factor in that its participants spread the art to those without access otherwise
• Improves conversational skills including diction, comedic timing, and confidence
• Reduces inhibitions while stimulating “the part of the brain responsible for self-expression.”
• Teaches and reinforces an ability to stay in the moment
Playing Dress Up
• Builds confidence while stretching your boundaries
• Facilitates creative thinking as you reimagine ordinary objects
• Re-connects you with the idea “you can be anything you set your mind to”
• Develops empathy
• May be the best excuse to throw a costume party or attend “come as you aren’t” events such as Comic-Con (you know you’ve always wanted to!)
There is a reason the idea that “acting young keeps you young” is a cliché. Research and anecdotal evidence keep finding that it’s true! In fact, when you get around to reading a children’s book or two, you’ll find Dr. Seuss said it best: “If you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”
Photo Credits: Pete Souza, Ken Mayer, Barta IV, Steven Worster, Anders Ruff Custom Designs, Cegep Andre-Laurendeau, and Kyle Nishioka.