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When kids go out to play tag, they are not only getting in a great workout, they are learning strategy, critical thinking and connecting with others. They learn all of these things without even realizing it, on top of getting a great workout.
Research has shown that play (even as an adult) continually helps shape the human brain throughout our lives. Stuart Brown, a psychologist who has studied play and its application to therapy as well as business optimization, suggests that play is also vital to our forming social networks and communities as we age. Playing tag or other games where we need a group to play counteracts the feels of isolation we can often get from working office jobs and hiding behind computer screens all day.
Tag is a great workout from a cardiovascular standpoint, keeping us agile and flexible. In addition, because tag teaches us about speed and agility, there is plenty of cross over to our normal workout routines, and may also help us improve our running.
As adults, it is very easy for us to dismiss playtime as childish, especially things like tag that we think might make us look "silly." It may also be hard to find other people to join you who also are afraid of looking silly. But the benefits of exercise and play can far outweigh the fear of judgement.
There are many ways we can incorporate tag into our workout routines. If you have children, you may want to join them when they play (but be prepared to be “it” a lot). If you don’t have kids and find that your friends are not as willing to engage in a game of tag, do some research and see if there are groups that meet up to play tag in your town, like this group in Kansas City, MO. You may be surprised what is available to you.
You may also prefer to do something that has a little more organization, such as paintball or laser tag, which also do attract a more adult population. Check out the Paintball Access for some exciting examples of games.
Flag football is another one of the most popular of the “tag” like activities. Adult flag football teams can be extremely fun and you can join at any level. Many gyms, such as the YMCA, will put together leagues based on skill level. The nice thing about flag football is that you dictate the speed of play.
Any of these activities will not only help you with endurance, speed and lowering stress, but will also add variety to your workouts so your time in the gym is more productive and most of all, fun.
Still looking for inspiration to spice up your workout routines? Check out the new Cybex Workout Center to explore workout programming designed to help you achieve your goals, regardless of you current ability level.
The Independent, June 1, 2014. So, tag is just a kids' game, eh? Think again.