Co-Authors: Alice Stewart and Courtney Hillhouse of the RiseVT – Windsor County team

When we work at Farmers’ Markets in our part of Windsor County, our work turns into play. We always take along our activity wheel that kids can spin for a chance to win . . . exercises. They come back again and again, spinning the wheel to hop like a frog, try walking on stilts, or run to the tree of their choice and back. Not only is it one of their favorite things to do, it’s also become ours. Who knew a prize wheel of exercises could be so appealing?

For kids, playing and being active is a part of who they are. But for many adults, we grow out of that mindset, missing out on the natural joy and fun that comes with being active in the moment. We set exercise up as a chore we have to do. We think we have to schedule time, get equipment, join a class – we create barriers instead of just spinning the wheel and taking what comes up.

What could you do to approach being active the way a child would? It’s not practical for everyone to buy their own prize wheel to spin at home, but an easy way to mix it up is to write ideas down on slips of paper and put them in a bowl. Draw one out and follow where it takes you – just like you did when you were a kid. Everyone will have their own ideas, but here are some to get you started:

  • Race to the mailbox (with a child, a dog, a friend, or just yourself)
  • Build a snow sculpture (just wait, winter is coming)
  • Look for tracks in the mud or snow and follow them to see where they lead
  • Do the bunny hop in your kitchen
  • Run through the rain and try not to get wet
  • Go jump in a puddle
  • Walk with no destination in mind
  • Skip! Down your driveway, to your neighbor’s house, to your car in the parking lot – bet you’ve forgotten how much fun it is to move this way
  • Climb a tree
  • Dance like no one is watching
  • Go out and find a really great stick (or an awesome rock)
  • Walk until you find a nice bench somewhere, take a seat, and appreciate
  • Take the long way to get where you want to go
  • Go in search of . . . whatever interests you (a goat, a purple house, a fire hydrant)

Approach being active the way a kid would, without overthinking it. Don’t let the lack of a class or the right equipment stop you. Even if you don’t have a prize wheel, you can still give it a whirl!