Make Exercise Body Fun and you'll Live longer

Body Fun - whats that?  Simple - it's restoring your love of an active lifestyle.  It's doing what people who achieve health longevity seem to do naturally, like 93-year old Ruth who told me....."I've always loved to walk."   And my paternal grandfather who lived to 101 was still coaching me tennis in his late 80's and walked every day - he simply loved to get out into the fresh air.  Yet for many of us 'exercise' has become a bore and a chore and something that takes effort.  And let's face it, our culture doesn't make moving as part of our lifestyle easy - in fact it erodes it.  And, if you've been through the usual 'stop being active' conditioning common in our culture, it's hard to believe that exercise and fun even belong in the same sentance, but they do, and they should.

The problem is that we get the message that getting fit is s-e-r-i-o-u-s business when it doesn't have to be!  In fact, I'm at the point that even though there are many wonderful benefits to fitness, I'm thinking we should exorcise the word 'exercise' from our vocabulary.  

I love this wisdom from ‘Duck Soup for the Soul’, by Swami Beyondananda:

“You must practice FUNdamentalism, the accent being on ‘fun’ - not to be confused with FundaMENTALism, which emphasizes the ‘mental”. 

Now if we could do that on a regular basis - wow, we'd have fun and laugh our way to better health and burn calories at the same time!

Research from Graz University, Austria found that when one group did only movement exercises while the other did laughter yoga, the mood of both groups improved but noticeably more so in the laughter group who also did great things for their health by lowering their blood pressure and recovering from strokes better. 

You only have to look at the “grimace and bear it” faces or hear the talk about how “I’m doing this because I have to” to realize that for the vast majority of people exercise isn’t the body fun it once used to be. 

You wanna see what I mean? Look at children during active play – there’s laughter, whoops of delight, and their eyes and faces are alight with excitement

Humans are the only species who stop playing

Fact is, play amongst all life forms is natural and universal. And we feel envy and delight just watching dolphins, monkeys or cats and dogs splash, chase, rough and tumble, tease and tickle. And here’s the interesting thing: they don’t stop playing as they get older, so why do us humans? Why are humans the only species that stop playing?  And how sad is that!

The Erosion of Body Fun

Well it’s not difficult to figure that out. We’ve had repetitive messages that after a certain age, play is somewhat frowned upon. The older we get the more significant grown-ups in our life encourage us to give up our ‘childish ways’, to work hard because that apparently is what will get us ahead. 

Playing and dreaming apparently don’t. We learnt that when ‘growned up’ people play it’s called ‘childish’ –something we soon learnt isn’t a good thing. We learned that if we’re too ‘jumpative’ then we get into trouble or we get medicated.

How crazy is that?

When actually it’s not that children are too ‘jumptive’ (or active), it’s just that as aduts we’ve become to ‘stillative’ (or sedentary).

We take golf carts when we can walk, escalators instead of climbing stairs and drive to drive-thrus. It surprises me that our dear pharmaceutical industry hasn’t yet come up with pills for under-jumpative adults – just like we have pills for supposedly over-active children.

If children were still funning (yes I did mean 'funning' although that could also be 'running' - you see for them running is still funning) around the playground learning their A, B’s and C’s whilst playing instead of sitting still at a desk – I seriously doubt that this whole ‘hyperactive’ children problem would exist. I can’t help wondering how many children we’d then have on Ritalin!

We need to make exercise fun again. Think of it as body fun. 

Now admittedly, it’s not quite the same as needing air, water and food because we can live without them, but play has multiple benefits.

  • Active play is fabulous for fitness, health and well-being. 
  • And it’s always healthier to be active and fit than not and
  •  it’s always healthier to do things with laughter and enjoyment.

We need to ditch seriousness and lighten up, we need to let go and jiggle, 'n jive and have fun. Find something you love to do and do it with all your heart.  Let your hair down and I don't care whether it's doing daisy wheels on the lawn, or dancing as if no-one is looking.  

In fact.... 

check out these two - they're freakin awesome examples. Just a great example of how you can have health at every size! We also need to get rid of the idea that you can't be fat and fit.

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