Hey, how about heading down to the gym with me? But hold on, I'm throwing on a long sleeve shirt. Even though it's still in the 90's outside, the air conditioning starts chilling my bones as soon as I start to sweat. Ok, you coming? Great. Got my water bottle, a little protein bar (there is some protein in Snickers,) Cool. Let's hop in the car, it's about a ten minute drive for me, but I'm not biking because I need to save my energy for the gym. Great, let's get excited, I can't wait to hit the squat rack, the dumbbell rack, the Yaaawwwnnnn...hold up.
This doesn't sound like fun. What are we doing? Get out of the car! Tell you what, let's do some fun stuff, get a great aerobic and strength workout, and instead of waiting to get it over with, we're going to wish we had more time to keep it going. It's easy. All we have to do is forget we're adults for a few hours.
Pick Your Aerobic Activity
Ok, these are my personal examples, but you can choose curling, ice climbing, or chasing the dog if you like. The only prerequisite? It has to be something you have fun with while pushing your limits a little bit.
-Skateboarding: This isn't at the top of my list because I'm a 38 year old closet skateboarding pro; but man, can I carve up my driveway! It wasn't always this way, though. There was that time at a crowded little league game where Daddy took a dive...but with a little practice since then I can almost stay on it at the skate park! Seriously, this can be great exercise, especially if you can't run because of worn out knees. Best of all, even just gliding down the street feels good.
-Surfing or Bodyboarding: I am a lame surfer, ok bodyboarder, and love to be in the ocean. Too bad I moved to the desert. The point is, these are fun, intense sports. These fit in the muscular and cardiovascular endurance category, and may be all you ever need, depending on personal goals. Ah, the ocean; gym, nature, and amusement park, all in one.
-Biking: Um, specifically I love to get a BMX bike and run sprints up and down the street. I will get a hardtail mountain bike one of these days, but dang! Have you seen the visually stunning little BMX bikes being made these days? Why let all the little punks have the fun! Seriously, they make one in your size too. By the way, there is a good chance you've forgotten how much energy it takes to keep a single gear moving for any length of time, and don't forget the jumps! Try doing that on a Bianci roadbike!
I'm sure the idea is coming across. I even found a website devoted to selling hoppers, those inflatable balls toddlers bounce on with a handle on top. The founder is all about fun exercise, and makes them in adult sizes as well. Now imagine an adults party with hoppers and margaritas...hmmm, somebody would probably break an arm, or a skull. Let's move on. You need to hit the weights, or at least maintain upper body strength, right? So:
Pick your strength activity
If Olympic weight lifting, competing in Scottish highlander games, or powerlifting is fun for you, go for it. The idea is to have some more fun with it though, so I'll start by saying...
-Rock Climbing: Actually, in my case it's fake rock climbing, like it matters. The first few times I started back into this my entire body ached. Climbing gyms are becoming popular to a greater segment of society, and I would imagine they are grabbing some of the business from franchise gyms. I site as evidence the installation of climbing walls at certain larger chains. In any case, this is serious body blasting, and a lot of fun. Every adult owes it to themselves to remember, or discover, what it's like to climb around on the walls like, oh I don't know, some kind of animal.
You'll increase the anaerobic capacity of the body, build biceps, lats, wrist flexors and extensors, calves, core, and more. Good times. You must see the video on the climbing gym at the end of this post, and yes, grown men and women participate and kick butt in these gyms as well.
Now don't start moaning and talking about all the stuff you can't do. This 'free running' stuff is a lot like playing as a kid, except, you're older, and to be honest this is going to hurt more now. The best of these athletes jump and roll off of two story buildings, vault over cars, and scurry up walls like a cat. This is not where you're going to start, but it is inspirational. It's a little like track and field meets gymnastics, and many of the moves require power and strength. Check it out below; it's about twenty minutes, but if this is new material it's worth your time.
Find something fun to do, and push your body to the limit in it. Even if it's an activity you do to take a break from a gym or team exercise routine, it will change your life.
The Insiders (Climbing)
Parkour Generations Video: