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5 Ways to Play Out Instead of Work Out!


Fitness can be fun! All you need are some favorite childhood toys like a jump rope and sidewalk chalk
Fitness can be fun! All you need are some favorite childhood toys like a jump rope, a beach ball and sidewalk chalk to Play Out suggests Deborah Brooks, Buzz Fitness Contributor

I need to work out!
I should work out!!
I hate working out!!!

If you hear yourself chanting these self-defeating mantras most days, perhaps its time for you to change your exercise emphasis and vernacular. The term “working out” can evoke all sorts of negative inner self-talk for those of you who feel uninspired by the sweaty, grunting, beasty bodies promoted on infomercials and in fitness magazines. Hey, it looks like work, it sounds like work and it feels like work! And truthfully, who wants to work before or after working all day? You’re  tired! You want to play! And you should be playing!

Why not Play Out?

Moving your body with joy and glee, the same as you did when playing in the schoolyard or your neighborhood as a kid, might just change your opinion of getting off of the couch and back into action. When you were a kid you didn’t play thinking, gee, is this good for my abs? You just went out and had fun. And you couldn’t wait to start!

Using the games and toys of your youth to get your body moving can be an engaging and physically challenging activity while being a whole lot of fun. And isn’t life just too darned short not to be a whole lot of fun?

Here are 5 ways you can play out that will trim, tone and bring back that youthful glow. All of the products needed to play out can be found at toy stores, sporting goods stores, online venues and even dollar stores depending on your budget.

So leave working for the office and start playing during recess. Your kids just might put down their phones and video game controllers and join you!

  1. Jump rope. Jumping rope is a great fitness activity that improves cardiovascular endurance, overall stamina, agility, coordination and speed. Think Rocky in training mode!  The website, can help you find the right length and style of rope for your needs.  Remember to start slow, land on the balls of your feet to protect your knees and not overdo it on your first time out.
  2. Hula Hoop. If you want to get a great set of abs, forget crunches and consider taking up hula hooping. The gyrating motion of hooping works the entire core; front, side and back. Hooping is fantastic training for the brain as well, as it requires a great deal of concentration to keep the hoop going. It takes a while to get used to the motion, but be patient. Once you get the hang of its zen like rhythm, it can be a fun addiction! Hoop for at least 10 minutes to get the most benefit.
  3. Hopscotch.  Get a bucket of chalk and start marking up the pavement around your house.  Hopscotch is a great agility and balance workout that’s an endless amount of silly fun. Try to get creative and mark different patterns on the sidewalk to add to the challenge and change up how your body moves. Move forwards, sideways and backwards, jumping on 2 feet, hopping on one foot or leaping from one foot to the other for a total lower body set. You can even use the patterns to train you upper body by getting into plank position and walking on your hands and feet in and out or the chalk boxes.  For a more challenging workout mark the pavement like an agility ladder and practice more complex foot patterns.
  4. Bouncy ball. Well, that’s what I call it. Whether it’s a small Penske Pinky ball or a larger kickball style ball, bouncing a ball under your lets or against the wall and catching it is a great hand/eye activity that also engages your brain and your core. I still remember playing A my name is Alice for hours on end. Try to remember the bouncy ball games of your youth for a great play out session.
  5. Balloon toss. This activity can be played alone but is a whole lot more fun with a partner. Blow up a standard sized round balloon and toss it in the air, chasing it around the yard trying not to let it land on the ground. Time yourself and set goals to keep it in the air longer and longer. You will definitely forget that you’re conditioning your body when playing with a balloon yet you’ll be getting a great metabolic workout along with improving speed, agility, coordination and general motor skills. Before playing,  check your surroundings that you have lots of space and your yard is clear of any obstacles on the ground. Please note, you can also use a beach ball for a little less challenging workout.

As with all exercise, please make sure that you have medical clearance to be active by your doctor when starting any new fitness endeavor. We want you to be Playing Out for years to come!

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Deborah Brooks
Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.

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