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July 13, 2014

CHRIS DAVIES: Don’t have fun exercising? Learn to play

One may wonder why most adults don’t exercise. Many reasons come to mind. Most excuses that I hear translate to laziness and not making time. The real reason I believe, stay with me on this, is we have forgotten how to play.

As an aging adult and parent I understand life gets in the way. When you say, “my kids wear me out,” I get it. Even being reasonably fit, it is challenging to match the pace of kids at play. I can only imagine how tough it would be if I were not in decent shape.

When was the last time you really had fun working out? When I hear adults giggling like kids while exercising, that is impactful. Though they are working hard, it does not feel like it. Before you know it, time evaporates and you have completed a tough workout, relieved stress and had a great time.

Exercise machines that require electricity are boring. When we are blessed with an abundance of trails and city and county parks, there is no reason to exercise on something that requires an outlet.

Besides money, there is a reason why the fitness industry re-packages old exercises and puts a flashy name on them; because the same, choreographed routine gets stale. Why force yourself to do something that is no fun when you could create or participate in programs that are challenging and different? You can get ideas from a reputable facility; there are some in town.

Many athletes have learned the value of structured play during training. The results are more intense workouts, an increased fitness level, and less chances of injury from doing the same, repetitive workout.

Even when working with children at the Terre Haute Children’s Museum, Joe Portillo and I only briefly talk exercise specifics. Activities we do are play-based and fun. If they were regimented workouts, we would lose their attention. Sound familiar? Adults get bored, too. When adults get bored, they quit.

In recent years I have embraced a minimalist fitness mentality in terms of equipment use. Machines and other devices are costly, take up too much floor space, and usually serve a single purpose. For next to nothing you can have a few select pieces that can be creatively applied with great results. Much like the child who gets a new toy, they find more joy in the box it came in. A creative fitness professional doesn’t need much to conjure up new things to do. Their playground can be anywhere.

Have you attended a work-related function or corporate event where they build in some activity time to break up the endless mind-bending meetings? Team building, recreational activities, group walks, stretching, etc., are what come to mind. Execs understand that some play time for business people make them more productive. If play was not beneficial to the corporate bottom line, do you think execs would require it?

Play stimulates growth in every way imaginable. If you are not having fun during your workouts, or find the ordinary exercise routine a bit stale, join a kid in play. They may wipe you out, but you will have a great time.

When it comes to exercise, please do not act you age.

Chris Davies, MS, owns Fitness Solutions at 1101 Walnut St. For more information go to: or email:

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