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Making Exercise Fun

I’ve often wondered what an alien or someone from an earlier time would think if they went to a modern gym. Would they think all the exercise equipment is some form of torture, especially after seeing all the people sweating and groaning? Perhaps some of those who attend the gym might even consider the equipment that way. Certainly many don’t like exercise, or don’t consider it fun.

It therefore amused me to see what my four-year-old nephew decided to do with my exercise equipment on a recent visit. When he first arrived, he asked, “Where are the toys?”

“I don’t have any.” I felt like such a bad aunt.

But it didn’t deter him for long, since he quickly discovered that the various pieces of my home exercise equipment could be fun to play with. For instance, he likes to build roads out of whatever he can find, so my yoga mat became a road. I don’t have any toy cars, but I do have some hand weights, and they roll, as well as a round pillow, so all those took a trip down the road. He also had fun using the little pump to blow up my exercise ball, and he was fascinated by my stationary bike, even though he’s not tall enough yet to use it. He especially liked how the computer display came on when I started pedaling, to show how fast it was going, how many minutes I’d been pedaling, etc.

At one point he also lifted one of the hand weights over his head and said, “It’s so heavy.” Then he quickly followed up with, “I’m getting strong!”

It got me thinking about how I don’t think too deeply about all these things beyond their intended purpose. This can make them not feel like a lot of fun, but when I consider how my nephew approached it, I realize I can change my viewpoint.

Why can’t these things be playful, or something to enjoy? Why can’t I be creative with how I use them? After all, they are not actually torture implements, but, as my nephew pointed out, things to help me grow strong, and to use my body as best I can. This is a far more enticing way of viewing them, and if I can keep that in mind, perhaps an outside observer – alien or human – would notice the difference in attitude. It might also help us remember that we use all these strange implements not to torment ourselves, but to lead to something good.

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