Let’s Move Like Kids and Eat Like Adults!

by Ryan McGowan, Warwick, RI

When did you move the most in your life? When did you enjoy moving the most in your life? For most of us, these questions conjure up fond memories of recess, making forts or obstacle courses, or playing until the street lights came on. For whatever reason, we adults get away from that. Let’s go back! Kids are the best movers around and they don’t even think about it! They move fluidly, intuitively, and often. Let’s be like them!

  • Use our surroundings to workout. Actually, let’s not think of it as a workout, just move and challenge our bodies for a while. Great natural exercise equipment includes: rocks and logs for lifting and carrying, hills and trees for climbing, fallen trees for balancing, small bushes or low fences for hurdling, soft grass or sand for crawling or tumbling.
  • Move naturally. I loathe the term “functional training.” Doing unilateral-hyper-reverse-power-lunges on a bosu ball may be impressive but what function does it serve? Kids just run, crawl, climb, jump, etc.  Let’s try to match them. Notice their posture, tempo, and how they use gravity and momentum to their advantage.
  • Play outside. We simply feel better after moving outside! The air’s fresh, sunlight warms our skin (and is quieter than fluorescent bulbs), wind provides natural resistance, and rocks and roots create a terrain with ups and downs that require skill and awareness.  Think you’re fit?  Try to keep up with a kid on the playground for 30 minutes!
  • Do it with friends. Kids are masters at making up games with ad hoc rules. Let’s emulate them, or have them design the workout (or play-out)! Plus friends act as accountability partners.

Eat like Adults!

Usually I’m against “growing up,” but in this case it’s called for. We all know food is the most significant factor in our health, yet so many of us eat like we’re still in the elementary school cafeteria! We don’t have a 9 year old’s metabolism and by now our digestive system has some wear and tear. Let’s do as we say kids should do:

  • Eat vegetables and some fruit – preferably local, seasonal, and organic whenever possible.
  • Properly prepare nuts/seeds/grains/etc. by soaking, sprouting, or fermenting.  It’s easier than you think!
  • Do your homework:  Choose products from happy animals. Back in the day you just bought “eggs”. Now you have to figure out whether you want “free range”, “cage free”, “vegetarian fed”, “omega-3”, etc.  Unfortunately “natural” doesn’t really mean anything nowadays. Look for “organic”, “pastured”, “grass fed (and finished)”, etc.
  • Don’t fear the fat!  Olive oil, coconut oil, and real butter contain important fat-soluble vitamins. Terms such as “cold-pressed”, “extra virgin”, and “unrefined” are typically good. Avoid products that are “low fat”, “hydrogenated”, “hydrolyzed”, “refined”, “ultra pasteurized”, or sound like it took a serious science project to process them.
  • Indulge sensibly. Except for the holidays, Superbowl, and maybe Halloween, choose treats with some beneficial health properties (e.g. red wine, dark chocolate, 1-2 beers, whiskey, high quality cheese, etc.).
  • Or, simply put, eat food that contains LIFE!  It requires some preparation, cooking, and perhaps explaining to people who eat “normal”, but it’s worth it!

“Ryan McGowan is a former Engineer and Ironman who left the commercial construction industry to pursue his passion of helping people become healthier and more adventurous. He is currently Rhode Island’s only certified MovNat trainer and implements a minimalist approach to fitness with more of a focus on movement skill and play. His company, Laid-back Fitness, is located in Warwick and is a combination of a fitness center and playground.”


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