Can Fitness Really Be Fun?

Rethinking Playground Play for Grownups

Fitness fun? For most of my life, I would have answered NO WAY to that question. It’s the one challenge I’ve had to my belief that whatever is true about play for children is also true for adults. Children play very differently from adults. They play with their whole selves, their imaginations, their creativity and especially their bodies.

Childhood: When Physical Free-Play Comes Naturally

Physical play is easy for children. They run and jump, swing, slide, do cartwheels. We talk a big game here on PlayGrounding about adults and play, but what about play through movement? Is “exercise” an unpleasant necessity after you reach a certain age? Or can grownups experience the same kind of joy a child does when they run out onto a playground?

Adulthood: When Movement Becomes a Tool

This episode is the first in a series seeking to answer the question, can fitness really be fun? I mean really? Fitness for adults seems to be a series of measured movements meant to affect the body in specific ways – to help with strength, stamina and to help us lose weight. To me, that’s always seemed more like work than play. We do specific activities to achieve specific results. But not everyone gets results, even when we try to follow the rules.

And this is only one piece of a larger problem: our culture’s epidemic of mental illnesses like body dysmorphia and eating disorders.

Rethinking Play & Fitness with Brian Bristol

Brian Bristol, a small business owner whose worked in outdoor sports for over a decade, wants to tackle this problem head-on, but he needs your help. It’s not as easy as it might seem to bring fitness and play together in one place – especially for adults. He wants to open an alternative indoor playground filled with movement-based activities and programs so youth and adults can experience play together in a way that is healthy, productive AND fun. He’s on the PlayGrounding Podcast seeking YOUR insights and ideas to re-think play and fitness so that his dream can come to life.

You’ll be hearing more from Brian in future episodes. He’ll be joining me to interview some other fitness and play experts as we go through the series to find out what’s already being done to make movement fun instead of painful for those of us who don’t already gravitate toward the fitness world.


Do you have an idea about how to include adults in free play for fitness?

Please let us know your thoughts or refer us to experts or organizations you think we can learn from!

Submit Your Play + Fitness Idea