When was the last time you used your fitness outside of the gym?
Having the ability to do things in the gym is great! We love that and are all about it, but the cherry on top that helps solidify fitness always holding a place in your day and life is to use it outside of the gym.
Taking part in any kind of planned activity outside of what you would call ‘traditional’ exercise may be really eye opening to what you are capable of away from the gym.
Play can mean many things. Some very common examples would be things like trail walks, hikes, biking, frisbee, soccer, kayaking, volleyball, skiing, basketball…you get the idea.
Play is a chance to also learn new skills and develop existing skills in different ways. In CrossFit we don’t get numerous chances to practice our accuracy (outside of wallballs and the Olympic lifts) so playing a ball sport that requires lots of hand-eye coordination and aiming at a target such as a soccer goal or a strike zone in softball can increase those qualities outside of the gym. Obviously some things transfer over to the gym better than others so it’s helpful to expose yourself to a variety of activities just as you expose yourself to a variety of things IN the gym.
Play can also be a source of social and emotional connection. Having the opportunity to participate in physical activity with the structure and support of others is just as good for you mentally as it is physically.Team chemistry and bonding are powerful experiences that should not be overlooked when taking part in activities described as ‘Play’.
Lastly, play should offer you a space to be stress relief, there should be laughs, smiles, and no added pressure. This is your time to let go of the things lingering in your mind as you become fully engaged in just this moment. You disconnect from everything that is not right in front of you and get lost in your form of play.
Play is not just for kids and might be even more important to adults just for different reasons. Kids gain lots of their physical and social skills as a result of playing. Adults can use play for whatever may fit their goals but the idea holds that play is a chance to use your fitness away from the gym, build up your social and emotional bank accounts, and help you unwind from every beep and digit in your life. Set aside time in your week for a little play.
“Our brains are built to benefit from play no matter what our age.”
-Theresa A. Kestly