We all experience times where we miss the ultimate freedom and vitality of our younger days, when aching joints and nagging injuries were the furthest of our concerns. Even if your childhood wasn’t filled with such feelings of freedom and vitality, you can still access them easily with these forms of movement listed below. These forms of movement incorporate elements of play, creativity, and exploration similar to the elements first explored in early childhood. Better yet, these activities can also develop a strong and agile body helping to ease or even erase the instances of nagging injuries and aching joints common in adulthood.
Jump rope is one of my favorite rhythmic and therapeutic forms of physical activity. It can be a tricky skill to master, however, with a lot of practice and patience, jump rope can be a fun activity with so many ways to get creative in its execution. Jump rope skills include basic bounces, crosses, swings, releases, catches, stalls, choreography, partner work, and more. When coaching people on the basics of jump rope, the most common phrase I hear is “I haven’t done this since elementary school.” which is a great indicator as to why this form of movement relates us to childhood. It’s often introduced in early childhood, yet never reinforced as we grow older leaving most adults to think that this activity is only meant for boxers and school children. Jump rope is beneficial to anyone looking to improve their health and fitness and should not be delegated to only a small portion of the population.
Children often are found frolicking around someone’s yard doing cartwheels and backbends like their lives depend on it. While cartwheels and backbends may not be feasible for an adult with no prior gymnastics or calisthenics experience, it’s still a worthwhile consideration to try out a class or learn from an experienced coach on the basics of body contortion and control. Not only does it build incredible full body strength, but it also leaves you feeling ridiculously empowered when learning how to do these movements.
I personally can relate to feeling incredibly empowered after attending my first handstand workshop with @bodyxyadi at Ironbird Fit in my hometown. This workshop taught me how to warm up my handstands with drills and how to properly align my body to balance my handstand. I held my handstand for the longest I’d ever held it immediately after that workshop. I also credit my feeling of empowerment to my little sister attending that workshop with me. I probably wouldn’t have attended had she not gone with me and I would have lost out on the opportunity to learn from such an amazing instructor. All of this to say that gymnastics and calisthenics are two ways to not only connect with your inner child, but to also connect with the inner badass version of you that you may or may not know exists.
Another form of movement that is common in childhood is traditional sports. An unfortunate reality is that as we get older, the opportunity to participate in organized sporting events typically gets limited. It’s unfortunate that we spend far more time watching sports than playing sports as we age, but with busy schedules and lack of opportunity, it’s virtually impossible to not do so. If adult sporting leagues are available in your area, I encourage you to try one in a sport you’re familiar with or to even branch out to a sport or activity you’re unfamiliar with to challenge yourself. Not only is doing so a great way to reconnect with your inner child’s need for companionship and physical challenge, it’s also a great way to engage in healthy competition.
At what age did you learn to ride a bike? Or if you haven’t learned yet, is that a part of your childhood that you feel is missing? I vaguely remember learning how to ride my bike with my dad at 4 or 5 years old and even though I don’t remember it well, I do remember it being an exciting moment in my childhood. No matter how old you are, riding your bike on a beautiful day in a beautiful neighborhood never gets old. It’s an exhilarating feeling when the sun and wind connects with your skin while observing the world around you in full mental awareness. Riding bikes is also the perfect activity to engage in with the entire family. You can usually do so safely at a bigger recreational park or in your own neighborhood and it’s a great way to spend undivided quality time with your loved ones.
These are some of my favorite forms of movement that connect me back to my childhood. I was fortunate enough to grow up playing soccer, competing in dance and cheer, and playing softball. These early introductions to movement have lead me to be active in my adult life doing Muay Thai, boxing, strength training, dancing, and jump rope. It’s never too late to explore a new form of movement, no matter how seemingly challenging it may appear. You’ll never know what you might connect on a deeper level with if you don’t give it a try in the first place.