If you can transform your exercise pursuits into play you’re way ahead of the game. That’s why joining a sports team is so great for kids (and adults). You end up exercising but you’re having so much fun you don’t notice. I feel that way when I play tennis, when I take a kickboxing class and when I play with my dogs.
The other day I went out into the backyard to put the dogs on their leash for our morning walk. The little girl dog usually runs right over since she loves our excursions but this morning she stayed across the yard, just looking at me when I called. I saw that she had her furry Chewbacca toy in her mouth and thought that maybe she wanted to play with it more than she wanted to walk. I started across the yard to get her then realized it wasn’t Chewbacca she had in her mouth….IT WAS A DEAD SQUIRREL! Score another one for my little hunter!
The day before, my younger son and I had watched out the window as this fat squirrel inched it’s way down a nearby telephone pole, then hopped onto our fence. It perched on the post and twitched it’s tail back and forth in front of our dogs. We laughed about it because it was clear at the time that the girl dog, in particular, wanted that squirrel. She was pacing back and forth in front of the fence but the fence post the squirrel was sitting on was too high for her to reach. After trying for a long time to get the squirrel from the top of the post, she lay down flat on the grass. She played dead and would wait patiently for the squirrel to get a little closer before popping up to resume trying to catch it. Each time the squirrel would retreat to the post and sit there flicking it’s tail provocatively back and forth before venturing closer once again. It was quite funny watching the two of them. Apparently, they continued to play the next morning and unfortunately for the squirrel, he ventured a little bit too close!
This is where my excellent cardio session began! I went to get the squirrel from her but she was quite proud of her treasure and wasn’t about to give it up! She ran….and I chased her. She ran faster. I chased her harder. All I could think about were rabies, fleas and getting that mangy thing out of her mouth. All she could think about was her hard-won prize and how she was keeping it. We were quite the pair. At some point, I calmed down. I figured that if she was going to get rabies or fleas from the thing, she was probably already infected/infested. I decided to trick her so ran as fast as I could in the other direction. She, of course started chasing ME while the bedraggled corpse flopped around between her teeth. Each time I stopped and turned to take it, she’d go the other direction. After a while it became a game. I forgot about taking her squirrel and we just had fun chasing each other back and forth in the back yard. It was the best, heart-pounding cardio I’ve done in a long time!
Eventually she put the squirrel down in trade for some slices of baked chicken. I grabbed it with the pooper-scooper and took it out to the garbage (which thankfully was out on the street for pick up that day). We missed our walk that morning but we sure managed to exercise…in a unique and wonderful way!