Move, play, and explore like children
A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to go on a family vacation to a relatively remote area in Vermont. During this time, I had the unique opportunity to share a house with my siblings, their significant others, and their children. In order to truly recover, I find it necessary to remove yourself from the stimuli you are constantly exposed to during your traditional (work) week and allow yourself to immerse deeply into other activities. One of these activities I found myself involved in quite a bit was watching and learning from my nieces and nephews.
We can learn a lot from simply watching and interacting with children. Below are three of the more notable learning points I took away:
Move like them. Children move freely and with fluidity. Of course their bodies allow them to express more mobility at various stages of growth than older adults, but I believe (to a certain extent) we are born to move well and pain-free throughout our entire lives. Past injuries, general wear and tear, and energy can play a role in our limits, but the human body has an incredible way of healing and improving itself if given the right environment to do so. Once we are here, we can begin to take our joints through the ranges of motion they were intended to go through and explore natural movement the way that we did as children.
Play like them. In a world where so much structure has been put in place to keep us functioning as a society, it’s easy to forget how to be physically (and mentally) carefree. Organized sports, activities, and exercise programs are irreplaceable for countless reasons, but there is also so much value in surrendering yourself to unorganized play. This gives us a space to express our creativity, move in different ways, calibrate with others, and socialize. Watching kids (mostly Lottie…) create their own games out of nothing has slowly become one of my favorite things to do.
Explore like them. As easy as it is to forget to be carefree, it is just as easy to get caught up in our own bubbles. Wake up, (go to) work or perform your usual daily tasks, go to bed, repeat. Rarely do we stop to take a look outside our tunnel and into the periphery. Kids remind us to slow down, take a step off the beaten path for a moment, and see our surroundings for what they are.
Stephanie Spoto, CSCS