Stop Exercising. Start Playing.

Note: This post talks about exercise, and the pressure put on us to be “fit” to society’s standards. If this is the kind of thing that triggers you, here’s some goats in pajamas to check out instead.

Society puts a lot of value on the size and shape of our bodies. Everywhere we look there’s someone telling us we need to cleanse. (as if we didn’t have livers.) Or we need to have a Beachbody. (If you have a body, you have a beach body.) Every magazine seems preoccupied with telling us how to “burn more calories.” Being barraged with this toxic messaging makes exercise feel like another chore. Another thing we have to do. Another way we aren’t quite good enough. And it sucks all the fun out of physical activity.

I still have no idea where the idea to start trail running came from but I do know that’s the moment my relationship with exercise began to change. It reminded me way more of running around the trails by the campsite when I was a kid. Or running through the wooded lot on my grandma’s property, hoping I’d find the Secret Garden. I wasn’t doing running so I could “earn” my food. Or so I could look “better.” I was doing it because it was fun. I was playing.

That’s when hit me. We need to stop working out and start playing. Indoor climbing? Fun! Biking around town, or through the woods? Yes please! Barre? Ok, I was really surprised at how much I liked that one. And sure, I do things that aren’t exactly fun for me. Yoga isn’t my favorite, but it’s cut down on the aches from the fun stuff. It also makes my joints pop less and helps me sleep, so totally worth it.

I’m not telling you do go out and run around the woods. Do the traditional gym thing. Join a sports team. Go on a yoga retreat. Do none of it. But find what you enjoy and do that thing. Do it because YOU enjoy it.

Go out and play.

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