5 Tips to Melt Off Fat That All Kids Know But Adults Forgot
Remember the days of limitless energy and flexibility as a kid? We could run all day long, do flips out of the swing, and pull ups on monkey bars while never missing a beat! If you were like me growing up, you were always outside being active and so you got to eat anything you wanted without any consideration for weight gain and you never cared about muscle building.
If you have kids now, you might watch them sometimes and wish you could go back to those days of somersaults, monkey bars, skipping rope, and playing freeze tag for hours. Even nap time might be part of your wishful thinking!
We don’t have to put away our childlike enthusiasm for life and activity. In fact, here are 5 ways you can bring back the good ‘ol days and actually live a healthier, more fit lifestyle. Forget the hard workout plans and gym demands, these are all things you can do right in your backyard.
Double Dutch vs. Speed Jump Ropes
Boy or girl, you know you enjoyed a good jump rope session during recess. Maybe you remember shuffling through the pile of used segmented jump ropes to find that one that was perfect for your height and didn’t have a bunch of broken pieces. Then you would proceed to jump as fast as you could without messing up, the sound of the rope hitting concrete under your feet with each turn.
You would compete with your friends to see who could jump in during a double dutch game or, see who could do the best criss cross.
As the bell goes off and recess ends, you are winded and sweaty but know you will be jumping rope again as soon as you can.
Jumping rope is one of the best forms of cardio you can do as an adult but one of the most forgotten also. However, in higher level sports such as boxing training, mma training and cradio training, it is one of the most fundamental tools pro athletes use regularly.
Benefits of jumping rope as an adult:
- At a moderate rate you can burn up to 16 calories a minute
- A simple single jump routine of three 10-minute rounds can burn 480 calories
- According to Science Daily, 10 minutes of jumping rope is equivalent to running an 8-minute-mile
- Jumping rope improves coordination by making you focus on your feet
- Ropes improves agility skills and cardiovascular health
- Jump ropes are completely portable - no treadmill needed
- You can learn tricks and steps to increase your ability and build on your rope skill level
The basic jump rope design has also become wildly varied through the years.
In your childhood PE days, you probably only had access to nylon ropes with plastic beads and handles. Now, there are leather ropes, nylon ropes, cable ropes and rubber pvc ropes, all of which serve their own purpose.
Where leather ropes might have weight for a steady rotation, a cable jump rope is meant for speedwork and agility.
“I always hated wrapping the rope around my hand to shorten it.”
Actually, most speed cable ropes can be adjusted to your height. A screw and collar keeps the rope at a specific length blocking the handle from sliding, and any extra cable length can be cut off. No more wrapping the rope or waiting for that one rope that fit you just right.
Monkey Bars vs. Gym Rings
As kids, the playground was a world where anything and everything happened, including that first day you were able to skip a bar on the monkey bars. You probably spent hours going back and forth, swinging from bar to bar and taking turns with your buddies. You could lift yourself up in between, crawling through them to perch on the top of the set while announcing to everyone that you were “king of the world!”
Most adults have forgotten how much fun this was but, you can get back the joys of strength building again with a very basic tool. Using a simple gymnastic ring set up you can start building crazy upper body strength and increase your core strength too. Using rings makes you control your movement while using your bodyweight as resistance through the whole movement and therefore, builds every muscle group along the way.
But aren’t gym rings for professional gyms and HIIT training groups?
No way! You can easily set up your own pair in your backyard on a tree limb, on a high bar, or even conveniently at a local playground. They are easy to set up and adjust using simple straps and clamp buckles.
Benefits of training with rings:
- They don’t take up much space and are portable
- They can work the entire body
- They require you to engage your core
- Do to their free movement, they require your coordination and intense focus
- Forces you to use all muscles including large muscle groups, stabilizing supporting muscles, as well as ligaments and tendons that are not often worked
- Requires full range of motion and provides increased flexibility
- Improves balance
And this list could go on…
Hot Wheels vs. Ab Wheels
Most kids growing up spent about 95% of the time crawling around on the ground on all fours. Maybe you had a truck you were pushing along through the dirt or a hot wheel car in each hand rolling around on the kitchen floor.
Believe it or not, you were probably working a lot of core ab muscles while playing, you just never felt the effects because you did it all the time!
You have to admit, anything that rolls and has wheels is fun, even as an adult...your workout included!
Ab wheels are an old tool but not as well known in gyms. The 80s throw back has become popular again as more adults realize the benefits and fun an ab wheel workout can provide.
These ab rollers have the potential to work your arms, core, obliques, thighs and legs while also giving you a solid lesson on stability and control.
For a complete line up of ab wheel workouts, check out my blog post here:
Tree Climbing vs. Suspension Trainers
No one will ever forget the hours of fun spent climbing around in trees. Pulling, pushing, jumping and pressing yourself through the branches kept you in great shape as a kid and you never thought twice about it. You would just run to that favorite tree and begin your full bodyweight workout...but as a kid you didn’t call it that...it was just pure fun.
If you’ve given up climbing trees as an adult...I’m sorry, what happened?
Suspension trainers are one of the best and most well-known bodyweight tools you can get that can simulate your childhood climbing activities.
Mountain climbers, muscle ups, arm presses, push ups, are just a few of the exercises you can do with a suspension trainer.
Benefits of using suspension trainers:
- They are completely portable and can be set up in a doorway, outside on a tree or bar, inside an office, or in a spot at your gym.
- Only uses your bodyweight as resistance but because of it’s swinging nature, this actually provides a huge challenge to most muscle groups
- They require more activation of your stabilizer muscles and more core involvement
- It’s easy to adjust to your fitness level because the steeper the angle of your body, the easier the exercises will be. The more parallel your body is with the floor, the harder the exercises become.
If you’ve gotten out of the habit of enjoying life and exercise, then remember those summer days of climbing, set up a suspension trainer outside and get back to the active lifestyle you maybe once lived.
Nap Mat vs. Yoga Mat
Nap time. You hated it as a kid but now secretly wish you had time for it as an adult.
What we took for granted then, we often misuse as adults...and that is rest.
Resting as a kid meant being forced to lay there looking at the ceiling while your mind raced with all the games you would rather be playing. These days, we barely get 5 hours of sleep at night and still have a hard time turning off our brains from the work day leaving our bodies craving sleep and rest.
Here, we simply want to point out the fact that separating the work day from your off time is highly important for mental stability and a healthy body. Yoga and mental reflection is just one of the ways to turn off so you can turn on a healthy sleep pattern.
Benefits of yoga and a resting routine:
- Allows the body to recoup from rigorous exercise routines
- Gives your mind a chance to quiet down
- Relaxes muscles from subconscious tension due to all day stress and fatigue
- Improves respiration, energy and vitality
- Increases mental alertness and performance
We might have moved far away from the nap mat season of our lives but, we’ll never move far from the need for rest and recovery. Studies show that depression, emotional stability, and peak physical and mental performance can directly be related to your amount of rest. So, consider how you best rejuvenate and begin to incorporate that into your daily life.
The long summer days of play might be far away from us as adults, but the fit and active lifestyle doesn’t have to be. It also doesn’t have to be hard and complex like most personal trainers or website articles make it out to be. Using a few simple exercises tools, we can relearn as adults, the fun in keeping our bodies in peak physical performance.