My wife often jokes that she has seven children instead of six—grouping me together with our youngsters. My reaction is simple: I smile proudly. To me, having a childlike mentality doesn’t come with a negative connotation. In fact, I see it as the opposite. I’m a firm believer in keeping your inner child alive as you grow older through fun fitness activities. It’s a tactic that’s allowed me to stay happy and healthy while strengthening my bond with our kids. Here’s how I do it, and you can too.
4 Ways to Channel Your Inner Child
Make Chores Fun. In the summer months I turn watering the garden into a game of “dodge the water hose” with my kids. I bet them that they won’t be able to hit me, let them soak me once, and then we just laugh and run around together. It creates feelings of joy and belonging, and I inevitably can’t stop smiling.
Start a Family Challenge. My kids often challenge me to a running or cycling race. Of course, I make it a close game and try to let them win 50 percent of the time, which is becoming easier to “fake” as they grow bigger and stronger. We also have push-up challenges, pillow fights, and step competitions. You can start the latter right in the Fitbit app and even get your own parents involved—they don’t have to have a Fitbit device to compete, just a smartphone and the Fitbit app. In the end, it’s all about smiling, giggling, and burning some extra energy.
Join Your Kids’ Favorite Activities. In our family, this usually means climbing trees or jumping on our backyard trampoline, which my kids love because my heavier weight increases the height of their bounce. How do your kids like to stay active? Next time, join in.
Compete Against Yourself. When you’re out walking, running, or hiking, challenge yourself. Is there a creek on your path? Consider jumping across it. Is there a hill you usually travel around? Try climbing it. If swimming’s your thing, make yourself jump from the 3-meter board in the pool and then work your way up to the 10-meter tower. In addition to awakening your inner child, setting fun, personal goals can increase engagement and make being active more fun. Plus, overcoming fears can give you a confidence boost, helping to seal that smile.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.