What Can a 7 Year Old Teach Us About Fitness?

by FitStaff

fitnesssisfunSo what CAN a 7 year old teach us about fitness?

If I had to put it into three words it would be..

Fitness is Fun!

As adults, most of us look at exercising and eating right as work (and by the time we are adults we associate negative emotions with the word work). We also look at it as a sacrifice.

But as Zig Ziglar always says, you don’t pay the price, you enjoy the benefits. The benefits are feeling better, emotionally and physically, as well as a much higher quality of life.

But how do you go from work to fun? How do 7 year olds do it? For starters, they play games and games are fun.

I coach a girls youth soccer team (now u11, we started at u7). A quick example from soccer practice. Back when we started we would play games like freeze tag or dodgeball but we’d do it soccer style, the difference being the girls had to dribble their soccer ball the entire time.

So they are learning an important skill (dribbling with head up, changing direction, being aware of all the chaos and movement around them etc.) AND they are all getting lots of conditioning without the negative connotations of, say, running laps or running sprints.

I also encourage them to get dirty. Before one practice it had rained a lot so the field, while not really wet, had some really nice muddy spots where the grass had been worn down.

But hey, soccer is one of the only times you can dirty and your parents can’t get mad! So I encouraged getting dirty as if it was fun to do. And for most kids it is fun, right? At least, it should be!

So what happened? They all worked harder and put forth more effort and so they got dirty. That happens in soccer when you’re aggressive.

In fact, throughout practice they’d come up to me and show me that their knees were dirty. They were proud of that.

Getting dirty is fun and convincing them of that was way more effective than me constantly telling them to work hard, give a good effort or be more aggressive.

In fact, it’s still what we do today and you’ve seen me write it plenty of times for you. It came from our soccer team – Play Hard, Have Fun, Get Dirty!

We need to remember these things with our own health and fitness.

Struggle to always get to the gym? Try making a workout or two an active hobby you enjoy like tennis, biking or basketball.

Compete with yourself. While some are more competitive than others, we all have it in us.

Don’t get frustrated by competing with others. Compete with yourself. This is a great reason to keep a journal too. Beat a previous time, crank out another rep, etc.

While they aren’t what you build a program around, this is why I like to do challenge workouts on a semi-regular basis, in order to try and beat previous records.

These little accomplishments make us feel good and keep us motivated. If all you do is go to the gym, crank out a really tough workout you hate, and then do it again in a day or two, you’ll burn out and quit.

Change things up. Make it a game. Compete with yourself. Set goals. FREAKING GET DIRTY!

This works just as well for people that want to drop a few pounds and live healthier as it does for the guy that wants to add 20 pounds of muscle and starts to dread yet another super heavy leg workout.

Become a kid again! It may be just what you need to get fired up and create some awesome results for yourself!

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