In a few short weeks, kids will be flooding the beaches, malls, and playgrounds of the United States to enjoy their summer break. Many of us wish we were them. Of course, we once were and while you can never turn back the clock, all of us have the capacity to live our years ahead by drawing from the important lessons we learned as kids.
They say that pretty much everything comes back to what you learned as a kid. That the best way to know where you are and where you’re going is to take a good look back at where you’ve been. Where it comes to fitness, we can unearth much of what is blocking us and what will motivate us by digging deep into our formative years.
Here are five lessons from childhood and how they can help you on your journey to optimum health, fitness, and wellness.
Finish your Commitments.
My parents made me learn piano when I was seven. I hated it. While my friends were kicking back and having fun after school, I was learning chords. I pouted and complained, but my parents were steadfast, explaining I had to commit to two full years of piano lessons and then I could decide for myself. I ended up quitting after the two years, opting for the allure of Little League baseball and all-important hang time with my friends.
But as adults, if we don’t like something the first time we try it, we often don’t stick with it. Despite not getting summer break anymore, being an adult does have a certain upside in that if you don’t like something, you don’t have to do it. But deep down, we know that success in anything comes down to facing ourselves and tackling the things we don’t necessarily like.
Exercise for many is one of those disliked things. While I‘ve long forgotten the chords I learned in those piano lessons, I didn’t forget the lesson of finishing a commitment. When it comes to fitness, finish what you start.
Go Outside and Do Something.
When I was a kid in the 1980s, video games were the craze. My aunt used to snap at us to turn off the video games and go play a real game outside. In the 1950s, kids were mesmerized by television and their aunts probably snapped at them, too. Now, kids are plugged in and connected 24-7 to every device imaginable. Still, every kid is likely told at some point to go outside and play.
It’s good advice, especially for us fitness junkies. While sweat equity is undoubtedly a good thing, the real games are out there. The treadmill intervals, heavy lifting, and gym time are great proving grounds for the limits of what our bodies’ capabilities. But the gym is about preparation. Playing outside is about expression.
Doing something with your body matters a lot more than what your body looks like.Going outside to play real games, run in real races, and ride on real trails is where we learn to do that something.