Enter the playpen, for insights and ideas on the theme of play. This is an experiment on building a kindergarten for adults - to invoke and foster the spirit of play like a child while shouldering the responsibilities of adulthood. Join me, let's play!
It’s a brand new week, but who’s counting? The pandemic has been anything but kind to our bodies and minds. If you’re not battling COVID-19 itself, the effects of quarantine are almost as deadly.
Those who never had an active lifestyle are realising the dangers more acutely.
Those that did have an active lifestyle had no access to gyms and health clubs or sport centres and thus fell into decrepit.
My story is different but the outcome is the same as most. I suffered an injury just before the coronavirus struck and that kept me not just locked on but also locked down. So I settled down with the excuse of a busted knee to a sedentary life.
Before we proceed further, lets get a few DOs and DONTs out of the way.
I love the lean me
I love the fat me
I love an active me
I love a lazy me
I love to play
Here’s what I mean.
I ♥️ The LEAN Me
What you see in the picture above is the result of a structured training regime and consistent effort. Now those are not my natural strengths, but I've developed the ability to perform effortlessly over the years. But as you all know now,
I'm on a mission to turn everything work, into play.
The picture you see is misleading because it's only a picture. Fitness is more than aesthetics. How well I can use my body is more important than how I look. What I use it for is even more important than how well I use it. Will it help me in my time of need or is it merely a status symbol to attract mates?
I ♥️ The FAT Me
Yes, I'm using the F word: it is an epidemic in it's own right in many parts of the world. Rather ironic as well when you consider many other parts of the world are starving of hunger. But let's focus on being fat. It doesn't really make me unhappy & maybe doesn’t matter to you too. What does matter is functionality not aesthetics. Can I move my body through the range of motion that it's capable of? If you can, then don't fret too much about how you look. Focus more on how you feel.
Don't look at the mirror!
Let the mirror be your observations. Love the way your body feels. Rubbing my taut belly actually feels than running my hands on my (now defunct) skinny ‘washboard abs’. This is not a rationalization, especially since I had to de-condition my conditioned response to feel disgust at the sight of my protruding belly.
I ♥️ The Lazy Me
I'll continue with the perks of a lazy lifestyle. Since I was confined to a chair for most of my day, I’ve spent hours writing. I probably wouldn't be writing to you today, if not for my ‘injury induced sedentary’ lifestyle. In other words, lazy 🙂 lifestyle. When the body is lazy, the mind is active. I discovered a heightened interest in cognitive activities during my absence from physical ones. A tradeoff I was willing to make, even if it was without a choice. Where I did have a choice was diet. And I chose to indulge heartily and that did improve my mood significantly. If you enjoyed calcium and sugar rich Indian sweets you know exactly what I'm talking about.
I ♥️ The Active Me
As much as I love lazing, I also thoroughly enjoy exploring the capabilities of my body. The outdoors beckons to me. The call of the wild, among other promises, offers a connection to nature; my own true nature. There's something about using the body, that feels like this is what I was born to do!
No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.
Think about it - fish swam, monkeys swing & horses run. Only we as humans can do all of that and more, in a variety of ways. When we have all that at our beck and call, isn't it sad to let that ability atrophy?
I ♥️ To Play
I don’t know about you but it’s the easiest thing in the world for me to give up. Now that my leg is rehabilitated and I can commence working out again, what’s to stop me? Nothing really, because as much as I love giving up on my goals, I’ve learnt to overcome that resistance. But that’s work and…
I want to play!
So I've decided that I'm not going to work out to get back into an active lifestyle. I'm going to play out! Yeah, I felt that cringe too, but hear me out. There are two words here - play and out.
The second is simpler, so let's tackle that first - get out! Avoid playing indoors but if you must stay in, find a space with the most natural light & plenty of air. That was easy. Now onto the actual play! Here's how I want to go about it:
NO workout time
Remember, it's always playtime! so I have no fixed workout hours instead, I will play through the day, all day. Maybe 20 seconds, 2 minutes, 20 minutes, whatever I feel the energy for.
Workouts are designed to create maximum stress in minimum tone, but play is always light, enjoyable & entertaining. So the moment I find myself struggling to continue I’ll stop.
NO sets + reps
I refuse to keep an exacting count and will only log approximations as and when I complete an activity/game anytime through the day.
Let's leave the old exercises aside and make up some new games, shall we? I will list follow guidelines but will try different methods.
So there you have it. No more workouts for me, only play-outs. I’m curious to know what happens when I choose to play ad-hoc instead of workout with structure. If you’re intrigued about this experiment, stay tuned.
We still have a little more than 60 days left to go in 2020, so wait for an update then.
I don't care about a belly if I can still use my body in every way possible.
I don't care about high-performance function if I'm not having fun on the process.
I’m going to imagine I'm a 10-year-old on the playground. I'm not wasting my breath counting reps + sets. I'm not concerned with attaining max functional capacity or peak performance. All I care about is fun - so let's play!