I am not sure it is because they feel too mature. If you have an adult who has not played – as an example – basketball for many years, his or her reluctance to play may be an inherent knowing that their bodies are not ready for it.
It they truly have a desire to engage in play, it will be incumbent upon us as trainers to help them to be ready for it physically and gradually ease them into the sport or whatever it may be. Our assurance is not enough; we must build the confidence in our clients that they can enjoy it the play without any risk of injury.
One way that I accomplish this is by actually playing some fitness games as part of their training session. You absolutely RIGHT, most of the adult clients that I do this with just beam when it’s “game time.” They love it, AND they get a good workout. Doing this a few times, actually finds them asking me “when is the next game time?”
I like your question very much Kelli. I think one of the reasons that adults just don’t let go and have fun has alot to do with “keeping up appearances.”
I think it is important to find out what brings the kid out in an adult and include that as part of your fitness programming.
I feel like a kid again when I put on my Kangoo Jumps and jump. I feel like a kid again when I am playing with my son or surrounded around young people who like to play.
I wish I could pinpoint exactly what it is that makes adults feel that horsing around is a big no no. However, I think people in general would be happier if they played more.
It is up to us as trainers to make it fun. I build games into my workouts to do this as appropriate for their abilities. As an example I do partner training and do fun partners games making it competitive for them. They love competing with a friend they are comfortable with. As an example I use hula hoops as a warm up and do contests just to have fun, but there are many examples. I even give out stickers and little toys I get at the dollar stores and they get really excited just like kids!! We have to keep it fun and light so they let go. It works-)
Play is a mindset that all can take on when the environment is right. We as health proffesionals must create the environment.
It is all in how we approach the clients “work out”. We can have it be spread sheets and all about numbers or we can choose to make it about health. Fun and play are critical to our health as a society. More so now than ever. If a client comes to you after they get out of their accounting job and all you do is crunch sets and reps and numbers are you really doing that client justice? Are you giving them what they need? Or are you just giving them more work.
In Stuart Brown’s book “Play”, He describes how dogs go about play. If you watch two dogs about to play. They first bow down and get a playful stance. Signaling to the other that play is about to commence.
So bow down to your client, and bring your own playful spirit. I will bet they will bow right back and “Play” will just happen