Did you get out and play this past weekend?

Work, work, work, work, work.

I wonder if it’s an Alberta thing, or just a thing these days all over, but it seems that the answer you must give when someone asks how you are doing is: ‘really busy!’ or some version of it. Super busy, incredibly busy, etc.

Work is great, don’t get me wrong, I love my job and what I get to do that creates enough income for me to feed my family and exist.

The problem I think, is that we impose less and less limits on work, and when we do have time away from it, we don’t play enough.

In the past three to five years, I have noticed a wonderful trend in fitness: playing. Fitness is finally losing its stuffy, rep-counting, weight training stereotype and people are realizing that fitness can be fun.

Yes, lifting weights (resistance training) can and should be part of a balanced program, but it doesn’t have to be everything.

Obstacle course races are springing up all the time now: Spartan Race, Mud Hero, Tough Mudder, Dirty Ninja, and our very own Zombie Run. Road races like Run or Dye and Colour me Rad are also selling out.

Why? It’s Simple. They are fun!

The training is fun, the race is fun and the friends you meet are fun.

It’s like permission to be a kid again.

The requirements are pretty low – shoes, shorts, shirt and let’s go play in the mud.

We do lots of obstacle course training at our gym in Sylvan Lake, and this past weekend we went to a friend’s farm and set up a muddy obstacle course and played all morning with our clients.

It was a ridiculous amount of fun and a great workout!

Today I went out to Nordegg with a friend and we went mountain biking for a few hours – got totally lost on some wonderful trails, found our way back and had a great time! Again – muddy.

You could easily say that it’s a boy thing, but I disagree, most of our clients are ladies and they love getting muddy as much as the boys. It’s not a boy/girl thing – it’s a FUN thing!

Stand up paddleboards are another fast-growing trend these days and once again: it’s a great way to get some fitness through core training, and it is fun.

We live in amazing times, and while it is true that we are challenged by the cheap and easy availability of terrible stuff posing as food, and games and tablets and phones threaten to steal away our time and attention, we also live in a time with a ton of tun things to do.

Adults need to play, just like kids, and we need to do it every week, if not everyday. There is no point working hard all the time if you never stop and play.

I write this, because I want to read it and remember it myself. I have been working too much this summer, and with August arriving this week, I am realizing I have played far too little.

I made a serious dent in that this weekend, and I hope to continue that trend.

Get outside and go play. Please – for your own health.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

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