Like a lot of middle-aged men, I’m in a state of denial.
I’m 49-year-old married father of two yet I still act like a child. Not just emotionally (all the time) but physically (sometimes) too. Yes, my wife will back me up on this, much to her chagrin.
However, when it comes to movement, you should act more like a child and less like an adult. Because adults play less and stress more. And when you watch a child play, they squat, reach, crawl, jump, run and climb. Doesn’t that sound like more fun than stressing?
Because when you were a child, all this came naturally to you. You were a constant blur of movement. Now, you’re older with the added responsibilities of bills, work and children, that blur of movement has slowed to a crawl.
- Drive to and from work
- Sit behind a desk
- Have more and more demands on your time
- Don’t get to the gym as often as you should
- Spend a lot of time in front of a screen
A lot of this (for the most part) will not change. You’re still the adult. There are bills to be paid and mouths to feed. However, rather than slipping into the abyss of stress, weight gain and immobility, start to move like a kid again and turn back the clock.
Add the following moves to your current routine and or if you if you don’t have one combine them for a training that will have you sweating, smiling and saying goo goo gaga in no time.
That’s baby talk for awesome.
1. Get back on the floor
There’s more to the floor than lying on the ground and crunching like a mad man while destroying your back and neck. Being on the ground is how you learnt to move as an infant and returning to the floor can help you reactivate neglected movement patterns, like the squat. Do you remember the squat?
The ground provides you with stability, balance and feedback and is an ideal place to start exercising. And if it’s been a while since you’ve raised a sweat, the floor is a great starting point. Or if you’re more experienced, the floor is a great place to warm up before you hit the weights .
Incorporating these moves may get you some strange looks but trust me, you’ll be the coolest person in the gym.
Rocking (notice how it looks like a squat)
Deadbug ( cool name for an exercise don’t you think?)
Combine these moves into a training that even your kids will enjoy. For example,
1A. Dead bug – 8 reps on each side
1B. Rolling variation – Do continually for 1- 2 minutes
1C. Rocking variation – 15 reps
1D. Crawling variation 20 reps on each side
(Go through this circuit 3-4 times for a training and once for a warm up.)
This doubles as a great warm up also or you could insert floor exercises into your lifting routine to improve your lifts and to recover between sets.
1A. Squat or deadlift variation
1B. Dead bug- 6 reps on each side
Or you could do a crawling exercise in place of traditional cardio. For example,
1A. Crawling variation 20 reps on each side
1B. Body weight squats 10 reps
Do as many rounds as you can in 5-10 minutes, resting as needed.
Most of the floor exercises featured involve contra lateral movement (opposite arm, opposite leg) which help improve co-ordination and mind- body connection. Contra lateral moves use both the left and right sides of the brain, helping you think clearer and are great stress reducers.
2. Get on the floor and then back up again
Stop reading and perform this test. Get down to the ground trying not to use your hands and knees. Then get up with minimal assistance of your hands and knees again and score yourself below.
Don’t think about too much, just do it.
To the floor and back up (5 points for each. – 1 point for the use of hand/knee)
Getting up –
If you scored less than 8 , you need to work on your overall strength and mobility because the inability to sit and rise from the floor unassisted is correlated with having one foot in the grave.
Here are a few exercises that will improve your score. Your quality of life could depend on it.
Couch stretch. Hold for 2 minutes on each side]
Push up plank- work up to a 2 min hold
Half kneeling and tall kneeling hold. Squeeze your butt checks like it’s your second day in prison. Hold each for 1- 2 minutes.
3. You’re never to old to play like a child
If you’d like to move like a child, then play like one. Play catch, skip rope, play hoops, throw the ball to your dog, kids or up against the wall.
Or go to the playground with your kid and play. Hang on the monkey bars or use the slide and the swing. However, please make sure the other kids get a turn and don’t be hog like Peter Griffin. That would be bad.
Just because you don’t look like a kid anymore doesn’t mean you can’t move like one. By adding play and returning to the floor, you will add more youth exuberance and pep in your step.
Don’t worry about the strange looks you’ll receive. Their just jealous.