You’ve probably heard it before. If you do this or that, go to this place, buy this product and you will feel like a kid again. Well how do we know what a kid feels like anyways? As a dad of 4 busy little boys I’ve learned a lot about this subject, yes they are energetic, flexible, near indestructible, pain free, eat whatever they want and never get fat… These are things we all want right? We just have to find that secret fountain of youth and turn back the clock and we will have these feelings back. But are these youthful stereotypes even true? Are they really that far out of our grasp now?
Children seem to have endless amounts of energy. This is probably the first stereotype kids get, they just go and go all day without ever getting tired right? I know from experience this just isn’t true, if I take my kids out for a hike on one of our beautiful trails in the hills they are tired out by mile two while my adult body is just warming up. A few years ago though, and my kids would definitely have outlasted me. Since I have started to take better care of my body and lost the extra weight and built up my strength and cardiovascular health, I can by far out last my kids most days. Its actually one of my favorite techniques for getting four rowdy boys ready for bedtime, just wrestle and chase them around the house until they have burned off all that extra steam.
Kids seem to be impossibly flexible and mobile. While it is true a child’s body is still growing and their joints are more flexible by comparison, I find that if I keep up with my stretching and foam rolling I am still nearly as flexible as my 6 year old at 38 years old. The reason many of us adults are so inflexible is because we have lost the flexibility of our youth by never using it. Its the age old use it or lose it concept. If you never stretch your body after a hard long day of work and sitting at the desk or in the car your body will stay continue to stay tight and bound up and become even more so over time.
Yes kids do seem to be nearly indestructible and hardly even know what pain is. My kids will scream at the top of their lungs after a small scrape or head bump. They simply haven’t experienced the life of aches and pains we have. Yet when they do get injured they seem to bounce back with such impossible speed and ease. Kids don’t experience the daily aches and pains of an adult body that has gone through a lifetime of poor posture and past injuries, yet just like us if they are allowed to do so they will eventually have the same painful problems we do. But this doesn’t have to be the way we live either, through a good strength and mobility program and a proper anti inflammatory diet we can rid ourselves of much of our chronic aches and pains.
Take it from someone who has been there. Over two years ago I had spent months seeing numerous, doctors, chiropractors & physical therapists to help me with my nagging neck, back, and shoulder pains yet none of it seemed to have lasting effects. I was still popping 8-12 ibuprofen a day just to be able to function enough to work each day, just to collapse on the couch once I got home. Just to get up the next day, medicate with my jumbo coffee and handful of pills and start the whole vicious cycle over again. Fast forward to today and while I will admit I have good days and bad days, pain is a part of life. Pain is a good thing in fact, pain tells us something is wrong and we need to take action. Just like if you were to put your hand in a hot flame that pain tells you to remove your hand, if you feel those nagging pains it means you need to change something.
While I do still have pains from time to time, I know when I feel them it means I need to change my habits. Maybe its my back pain telling me to straighten up my posture, stretch my hips or get up and move. Or neck pain telling me to put down the phone, and shoulder pain telling me to stop slouching and stretch it out. I now know what to do about those nagging pains. Now that I have spent the time strengthening my body and building back my youthful mobility, even my bad days now are better than the good days I had before.
Even if you have lived with pains like I had for years, believe me when I say there is hope! You can gain back some of that youthfulness with just a little hard work and dedication to taking the time to change long seeded habits. Seek out a knowledgeable health or fitness professional that can help you get started, and before you know it you will feel like a kid again!