Saturday, October 01, 2011

All Intervals and No Play Make Jack A Dull Athlete

The Game Was On. It was serious. The "older folks" (those of us above the ripe old age of twenty) were pitted against the youngsters. It was war. Well, it was Ninja Stars, a variety of dodgeball played by flinging square karate "focus pads" at each other. No way were we going to let those whippersnappers beat us. Of course, it helps that several of the dads in class have deadly aim and speed throwing those pads. Me, I'm pretty worthless at throwing, but I managed to stay in the game by dodging well. I'm sure none of us thought about the fact that we were working on agility, speed, dexterity, or stamina, we were just playing.

Playing is something we do a lot of as kids, and often forget to do as adults. True play brings a component of joy to our workouts that can be missed if we're just counting the miles or tracking the splits and heartrate data. One thing I really value about our karate classes is that we do take time to play, laugh, have fun, as well as to get serious, punch, kick, and spar. I also like to include other forms of play in my life, everything from innertubing with the kids to early morning pick-up Volleyball games at the club. Most of these could be considered a workout, but somehow they never feel that way to me.

Our game of Ninja Stars was a great reminder to include more play in my workouts, especially as we head toward winter. If you have a group of people, you can include some fun, even in traditional workouts like running. Last year's muddy buddy run was a great example of how to shake things up. Everything's more fun when you do it in the mud. Even if you're like me and typically work out solo, it can be worth it to enlist some friends and go have a game of whatever. I guarantee you'll get a great workout, but you won't even think about it.

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