Chances are if you're a millenial this is a less familiar memory than those born the decade or two (or three) before, but nearly everyone remembers running, jumping, skipping and laughing on the neighbourhood playground or in your own (or one of your neighbour's) backyard. Some of us relished our time with our friends or just time outside of the house, but little did we know that what we were doing was inadvertently keeping our muscles and minds healthy and agile, and (for some) priming us for an active, healthful life. No matter how old you are, at least one of the four childhood games that almost always left you in a huffy, puffy sweat will bring back fun or funny memories.
Some of us were competitive and wanted to see who would be first to jump from make the longest single-legged jump. Others of us were just content to challenge ourselves as much as possible. Some of us were taking baby steps simply because our coordination (or confidence therein) was shaky that we were ecstatic when we actually remembered the alternate single-legged and double-legged jumps all the way to the end! At the end of the day, we all ended up cheering our friends/competition on all the way to the end and we all finished completely sweat-drenched, tired and very ready for dinner. One of the go-to pre-dinner childhood games, this remains a great way to get the heart rate going as a warm-up or an agility training session.
Whether you were holding one end of the rope or jumping about between your friends whipping that rope about you, this remains a fun-filled, sweat-inducing staple among even the laziest 80's and 90's babies. You not only got your heart rate going in any position you stood, but chances are that you bonded over peals of laughter with your peers by the time one person missed a step or lost coordination along the way. Anywhere you stood, you were bound to enjoy yourself and get in a good workout.
Some of us really wanted to jump over the tallest kid. Some of us were really afraid to even attempt jumping over the shortest in the group. But we all tried, jumped and landed and squealed anyway until all of us were in a laughing, sweaty mess. Fun and filled with exertion was that game - an ideal workout and we didn't even know it back then.
Monkey bars. Swing sets. Climbing ropes. See saws. We could build a whole circuit workout without even trying when we were kids. Some of us parked ourselves on the swings or the seesaws. Some of us let our inner competitors out and played on the monkey bars or climbing ropes all day. But by the end of playground time, you not only worked up a major sweat but you had an awesome time. After all, exercise is supposed to be fun, right?
Now that you have a smile on your face and probably a plethora of childhood memories of jumping, climbing and swinging through the air, go ahead - put on your gym gear and get going on a workout!
This was originally posted on 8 September, 2015.