Why I Stopped Exercising and Started Playing
Start Playing! Stop Exercising!
My ears pick up the sounds of mockingbirds chirping in the trees as I charge past them. I run past the snow melt that birds are bathing in. The sun warms the nape of my neck as I obsess about my splits. But all I care about is what my watch says- which will determine if I’m a success or if this was just a massive waste of my time. I have 9 seconds to get to the top of this damn hill and if I make it up there in 15 seconds the words that will come out of my mouth will make a sailor blush. I finally get to the top of the hill and simply hang my head and trudge back home… 17 seconds… failure.
Over training is defined as a person exceeding their body’s ability to recover from strenuous exercise. When our body is in this state we see a decrease, or plateau, in performance. We might also find ourselves experiencing the following symptoms:
- General fatigue, feeling lethargic
- Change in appetite
- Irritable, restless, excitable, anxious
- Loss of bodyweight
- Loss of motivation
- Lack of mental concentration
- Feelings of depression
So, what does all of this mean? Exercise is supposed to alleviate stress and provide all these wonderful physical and mental health benefits, and yet I feel week and tired. What if we simply change how we view exercise? Instead of viewing exercise as a task that we must check off or is only successful if we meet a certain time, we view it as play!
Yes, play- like what we did in elementary school. Scrap all the training plans that require you to monitor your HR, WATTS, VO2 Max. Throw it all out! It’s time to shake up things and start having fun again. We understand the importance of play for children. We know that play improves physical, emotional, social, and cognitive skills; as well as improving our confidence and self-esteem. So how did we get from swinging on monkey bars to charging up a massive mountain with all these stipulations of what makes a successful training session? Competitiveness? Drive to improve ourselves? Or maybe we’ve told ourselves that exercise shouldn’t be fun, but a task that must be completed. For me, it was all the above. I forgot that running makes me feel like I can soar like an eagle. I forgot that I am healthy and able bodied. I GET to run!
All that being said, start having fun and don’t take yourself so seriously. Choose exercises that you actually enjoy and make you feel strong, confident, and empowered! Don’t dread movement- embrace it! Love it! Get dirty and muddy! View nature as your playground.
Below are some great, FUN, activities that will provide you with all the health benefits of exercising as well as play!
- Adult sports leagues (softball, soccer, volleyball, kickball)
- Play with your kids!
- Obstacle Courses
- Play with your dogs
- Biking events https://ashevilleonbikes.com/
- Bent Creek Hiking and Mountain Biking: https://www.hikewnc.info/
- Arboretum – https://www.ncarboretum.org/ (
one time or annual pass fee)
- Biltmore Annual Pass (locals can use trails anytime)
- Free: UNCA botanical gardens https://
- Rattlesnake lodge – hike on Blue Ridge Parkway near by with History: https://www.hikewnc.
info/besthikes/blue-ridge- parkway-section-4/rattlesnake- lodge
Fact: Research highlights that an average of 30 minutes spent in nature leads to increased physical activity and lower prevalence of high blood pressure and depression.
Awareness Challenge this week: As the sun is starting to heat up the outdoors, go outside and start exploring nature or find a new outdoor activity that sparks your interest.
Tune in next time; we’ll discuss what’s hot with health!
In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about living a healthier lifestyle, reach out to us for our professional guidance and support. Give us a call!
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” – George Bernard Shaw
Written by: Katrina Cuenca
Blog Photo Credit: University of San Diego
Cover Photo Credit: Primal Play