Remember Recess and Summers as a Kid? That is When Exercise Was Fun!

Mark Sisson, over at one of my favorite sites, recently wrote a post called Grok Tag.

It is so well written because his description of recess is “spot on”. I lived for recess back in Elementary School! It was a blast. I remember basically doing all activities full throttle and having fun no matter what we were doing. This article is not a tip or anything like that.

I just wanted to back Mark’s message from his recent post.


[I will never be too old to enjoy a great rope swing! I need to find a great one this summer…and a good place for cliff diving. This stuff never gets old!]

I Have a Love-Hate Relationship With Technology!

I like the Internet, the convenience of cell phones, On Demand TV and things like that…but it make me a little sad that kids are missing out on a lot of playing outside. When I was a kid video games were around, but they weren’t such a major focus.

I typically played outside until I dropped and then would occasionally play a video game maybe 1-2 times per week. Oh yeah…and I was fine going through the day without constantly having to hear my favorite music. Am I sounding old?

Dodgeball, Waterballoon Wars, BMX Riding, etc.

I heard that kids aren’t allowed to play dodgeball anymore. I think we had 4-5 different types of dodgeball (Free Dodge Ball, Indian Doge Ball, Soak Em’, etc). If I was in charge dodgeball would be encouraged in all schools (maybe not mandatory).

Many other rowdy activities are now discouraged at school. We played a game where a football would get thrown up in the air and whoever caught it was a target to get tackled by the mob of kids. Another game was playing soccer and whoever was dribbling the ball would be a target for everyone to “slide tackle”.

Slide tackling was BIG when I was in 4th-6th grade!

Mark’s Post Reminded ME of How Much Energy We Had!

There were a lot of games that involved full-blown sprinting back then. Tag was one of the games that really got kids sprinting. I talk about “HGH Flush” on this site (being short of breath, skin gets red and hot to the touch).

Tag creates a huge HGH Flush! I love the energy that Tag creates especially when you are being chased. For some reason you can push past the pain barrier when you are trying to escape.

Tag is NOW Getting Banned in Schools!!!!

Pretty soon they are going to be cutting rope swings down! I am sad and a little angry. I am going to support Mark’s message about “letting kids be kids”. Please head on over to his site and read his outstanding article on the subject—>Grok Tag .

Mark has actually designed a workout that involves Tag, Burpees, and Pushups.

This is thinking outside of the box and is probably one of the best blog posts I have read in a long time.


36 thoughts on “Remember Recess and Summers as a Kid? That is When Exercise Was Fun!”

  1. I love your site and your posts Rusty, but I have to say that I’m tired of all of these value judgments about “kids today”. No, there were no video games when I was a kid, at least not until Pong came along when I was in my teens. Yes, I spent the vast majority of my childhood outside playing. As I’ve seen many people say on Facebook and elsewhere, my mother would tell me to get out of the house and don’t come home until dinner. The difference is that I can see that her actions were not some kind of noble act of wisdom; if we stayed in the house, we’d be getting on her nerves with our moaning about how there was nothing to do and we were right: we had nothing to do indoors.

    So outdoors I went to “play tag”, hide and seek, kill-the-guy-with-the-ball, build forts in the woods, and have brook-jumping competitions, climb trees, etc, etc. A youth without closer supervision also led me to smoking pot for the first time when I was 11 in 1971. It led me to having fun starting forest fires, shoplifting, and regularly doing drugs, drinking alcohol, and smoking by the time I was 14. Our fort-building careers culminated in a fort built with $5,000 of stolen wood. The lack of “control freaks” at school allowed us to smoke cigarettes and pot on school grounds. They didn’t give a damn that I habitually skipped classes and entire days of school. Politically-correct play in gym is irritating without question, but gym was just another part of the school day for me; something to get through until I could get home and do what I REALLY wanted to do. I didn’t get my license until I was almost 18. I couldn’t be bothered because I drove anyway. I learned to drive when I was 15, stoned and slobbering drunk, because my brother was even more drunk and couldn’t drive.

    Meanwhile, have today’s condescending adults looked at the kids who are not overweight? I see and hear so many blind adults insinuating that all of today’s kids live in plastic wrap. Are you kidding me? Have any of these people seen the X Games for crying out loud? Seen the way today’s kids ski and snowboard, bike and skateboard? Good grief man, along with the coach potato kids — and I’m here to tell you that we had kids like that when I was young — there are plenty of kids out there that put our attempts at risk-taking to shame. I’ll tell you what the blind proclamations of these people tells me: that THEY are the ones who are not getting out enough.

    This is not to say that we don’t have problems with poor diets and lessening degrees of physical activity, but there’s a flip side to that coin that goes along with it and for once I’d like to see people start giving credit to “today’s kids”. My own kids most definitely play in the house much more than I did, but they are also far less likely to have their lives mired in mediocrity as a result of their drug-addled youth.

  2. I am working with kids, playing shows for them, entertaining…it makes me feel young again, we are doing a lot of exercises… I love this job! Igracke

  3. I don’t plan to ever stop playing and having fun! Heck, I go on 2-3 week long business trips, and at a minimum I’m able to find a few spots to play basketball. Exercise is not something I’m willing to compromise.

    Just like in my youth, a willingness to engage in sports, has allowed me to meet a lot of wonderful people in different cities and countries. Getting out there and having fun promotes physical health and fosters social relationships. I feel bad for those youth today who are less inclined to play and more inclined to sit at home on their computer!


  4. Pingback: Formal education kill the love of exercise « The Complete Body
  5. Rob said: *we’re constantly losing our spontaneity because of our so-called maturity*

    maturity is just a myth, I know sponteanous kids who are way more mature than a lot of adults including their parents.

    often the ambiguos concept of maturity just hides one’s mental lazyness and couch potato attitude. Overly seriousness and haughtyness is just a mask people wears because they don’t believe in themselves so they need to believe in something else to the point of narrowing their mind and having a dogmatic attitute. Not taking yourself too seriously is actually a sign of maturity. Being open minded, accepting new information and exploring new paradigms, critical thinking about things are actually all signs of maturity that most adults with their nihibited lifestyle and nonsense maturity-lie lose while kids have lot of them.

    I like what Leonard Botstein (insightful president of Bard College who had great success with experimental university level schools for teens and that wold abolish high school for good) says about the hypocrisy of the adult identity:

    “We define adulthood in a way that is not actually true. We say adulthood is all about circumspection and self-denial and responsibility — all high-minded moral talk. It’s not the way adults actually behave”

    True, it’s not the way it is, but’s it a common myth that justifies all the faking, lying, pretending, acting of adulthood.

    A great socioligist Henry Lafebvre even considers adulthood a myth, a stupid social construction. That’s what he said:

    “adulthood is a myth, a myth presented by adults to their juniors. Adulthood means that a social group, well organized and also possessing a number of solid structures, takes control of the life of the person who is said to have reached adulthood and subordinates and integrates him or her firmly into itself. From the moment these “adults” are firmly integrated in one of these social groups we see them turning into very important people people, decorated, bedribboned and just childish. So adulthood is a myth because it infantilizes people in the very process of “integrating” them with terrible force into narrow social structures. I believe it’s one of our society’s most oppressive myths, and that’s why I’m on the side of everyone, young or not so-young, who does not believe in adulthood”

    Most adults are just insicure, narrow minded and angry at the world because they’re angry at themselves. I can’t believe how many adults I’ve known talk down to kids as if their life was so damn of full of responsibilities and be-strong moments, while the kids they talk down too are often a lot stronger and less wimpy in dealing with situations and problems.

    Most adults are usually sedentary, junk eaters, lazy thinkers and as they lose all these great qualities that defined them as “humans” when they were kids, they develop an irritating haughtiness and arrogance, taking everything damn seriously and feeling superior to younger people, as if in need of a surrogate (i.e. fake-power) to the real-power they’re losing.

    Let’s face it: most adults are inhibited immature control freeks and constantly on a power trip. Maybe if they had stronger bodies leading to stronger mind leading to less whining and more acting; they wouldn’t need fake control and power so much.

  6. I remember very well playing football in the dead of winter for hours. What great exercise that was and your right….it was nothing but fun. Lifting weights in the gym can get boring…that is why you have to try and change things up!

  7. Totall agree.
    when I was a kid I used to build ramps to try and get the highest and longest jumps with my bike, play tag, dodgeball, dig huge holes in the backyard, climb the trees all the way to the top, Find new and interesting ways to jump into water, and the list goes on.
    I find that lately I physically feel the need to do more fun stuff in exercising. I can be running outside with the polar on an checking my performance and then spot a low bush and feel the need to run there and jump over it, same with benches or playgrounds. That feeling is getting stronger and stronger so I think I understand where your post comes from.

  8. It’s absolutely ridiculous! The mind and body work together and if the body is not being stimulated properly, the mind will suffer. This is a serious issue in America. Fortunately, there are facilities like Studio Element in St. Louis that can assist children in developing an active lifestyle.

  9. I remember in 6th grade, my favorite recess activity was frisbee. A large group of kids would stand at the bottom of a big hill behind the school, and my 6th grade teacher would throw frisbees to us. They would be very high because of the slope of the hill. It was always great being the one guy in the back who managed to catch the frisbee after it slipped through the fingers of about twenty other kids.

  10. The HGH flush is best achieved when you enjoy the activity rather than some monotonous gym workout. Tag is one activity that doesn’t need music to pump you up.

  11. Its so true back in the day exercise was easy and fun. If only we could find a way to get that fun and excitement back. Then we wouldnt have an obesity problem :).

    Thanks for the article, will be back soon to read up on more

  12. Your going to love this. Remember the jungle gym schools had attached to the wall in the gym that pulled outwards? It usually had climbing ropes, ladders, rings etc. Well at my sons school they have decided that this piece of equipment was no longer acceptable and has been permanently secured to the wall – sad. Tag in the school yard has also been stopped as an activity – at recess the kids usually just stand around talking or at most go down a slide. As a culture we are doing our best to create a sloth like generation.

  13. This is so true. Many schools have done away with recess all together which is a crying shame, and when kids get home they just turn on the TV and play video games.

    *Providing the best deal on Whey Protein… Period.

  14. I think we called it smear the queer, where we threw the ball up and whoever caught it got destroyed. My favorite was riding a bike and jumping ramps, did it all day.

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