Among the many striking contrasts between the different behavioral patterns of adults and adolescents are the different perspectives on exercise and physical activity. In general, kids dislike sitting still and want to move around constantly, getting outside seemingly whenever possible. Many adults, however, often feel guilt or dread when it comes to a simple 30-minute workout and are content to go from bed to car to office chair to sofa before returning to bed.
While there are certainly numerous reasons for these different attitudes, not the least of which being a greater amount of responsibilities for adults, one of the biggest factors may be the chosen methods of exercise. Children aren’t likely to deliberate the effectiveness or trendiness of a certain workout. For them, fun and convenience hold top priority.
Usually, that means games or activities suitable for playgrounds, driveways and front or back yards, like jumping rope, whereas lots of adults gravitate to machines in gyms, like ellipticals. In reality, the children’s selection may be the better choice for people of all ages, according to a recent article from Business Insider. Story author Hilary Brueck outlined celebrity fitness trainer Emily Samuel’s disavowal of elliptical workouts, writing:
“It’s almost like you’re half riding a bike, half walking,” fitness trainer Emily Samuel told Business Insider. “It just doesn’t really apply to real life.”
Samuel, who trains a roster of celebrity clients at the exclusive Dogpound Gym in New York (where Hugh Jackman works out), said she is vehemently “against” the elliptical machine.
“I would choose other things to get my heart rate up,” she said.Her advice is to opt instead for more portable, affordable equipment.
“I really would recommend doing a jump rope instead,” Samuel said. “All you need is your body, you don’t need a gym.”
Researchers generally agree with Samuel on this. Regularly jumping rope has been shown to help people stay fit at every age. Jump ropes can improve balance and coordination in kids, help obese teens reduce belly fat, boost bone density in female college students, and improve heart health in adults.
If you are wondering how vigorous a jump rope workout really is, consider that when it comes to a measurement called MET — one of the key indicators that exercise scientists use to pin down how many calories people burn doing specific physical activities — jumping rope burns more than twice the calories of a moderate spin on the elliptical machine.
Once you get good at the basic jump-rope hop, Samuel suggests you “try different tricks” to continue challenging yourself, like jumping on one foot, adding in high knee kicks, playing double dutch with friends, or criss-crossing the rope back and forth.
Surely children must eventually learn to grow up and act like adults. Some choose to do so sooner than others. Still, even grown men and women can benefit from a childlike perspective on certain aspects of life. Yes, working out is important, but it should not be seen as an obligation. Instead people should see it as a priviledge and wonderful opportunity to stay healthy and even have fun.
To read Brueck’s full writeup, click here.