Remember the joy of spring when you were a kid? It meant outdoor recess, raucous games of kickball, a chance to expend all of that pent-up energy. Just because you’re all grown up doesn’t mean you can’t still have that feeling. The Washington area is full of fitness activities to help you relive your childhood and stay in shape.
Sports we played as kids could improve our balance, coordination and flexibility as adults, said Anthony Wall, a physiologist and director of professional education at the American Council on Exercise.
“As we get older we often forget those kinds of skills in lieu of other ones, so bringing in some [childhood games] are excellent ways to reinvigorate the body,” he said.
If you’re like me, kickball was the one playground game that meant not getting picked last. There is no need for super-human strength — just the ability to sprint around a few bases and kick a moving object. You can even bunt. Still, all of that running and kicking can burn some calories.
“If you don’t like going to a gym and sitting on a bicycle for hours, this is a much more social, fun way to work out,” said David Lowry, co-founder of World Adult Kickball Association, which hosts 11 leagues in Maryland, Virginia and the District.
A typical match lasts up to an hour, with each team on the field for about half of that time, Lowry said. Games are held after normal work hours and are usually played at local soccer fields or the Mall. Kickballers are famous for boozy socializing at the end of games, but beware of reversing the effects of your workout.
April marks the beginning of a new season for most local leagues, with eight weeks of games. Joining costs $65; go to www.kickball.com to find a league.
Prefer throwing the ball at your opponent? Then dodgeball is your game. As a kid, this recess favorite gave you an excuse to pummel the kid who always magically wound up with your Twinkie. As an adult, dodgeball is still a great way to get out some aggression without hurting anyone — local leagues use foam balls — and get in a good workout.
ZogSports in the District will let you sign up by yourself or as a team for its adult dodgeball league. Individual membership costs $65, and a team of 12 to 15 people will run $600. Teams play once a week at school gyms and parking lots. Each team plays four games that last about seven minutes a piece.
Quick refresher: Players are “out” when they are hit by the ball, throw a ball that is caught, cross the center line, hit someone in the head with the ball (not cool) or run out of bounds to avoid a ball.
Registration for the next season, which starts Monday, is nearly closed. Go to www.zogsports.com to see if there’s still room. If you miss out, another league will start in June (on sale in May).
Jumping around on a trampoline isn’t exactly something you did on the playground, but the sheer joy of this childhood activity makes it worth coming back to. All the bouncing, flipping (for the athletically inclined) and eventual falling is enough bring out your inner fourth-grader.
Flight, an indoor trampoline park in Springfield, blends aerial aerobatics with advanced calisthenics for fitness classes that defy gravity. Classes are an hour long and cost $11. Early risers can drop in at 6 a.m. on Wednesdays for high-intensity interval training or Thursdays for boot camp — the ultimate jump squats and burpees.
“It’s so much harder to do sumo squat jumps on a trampoline,” said Jenny Mahaffey, who teaches four Flight Fit classes. “Trying to stabilize yourself forces you to use more muscles.”
Flight Trampoline Park (703-663-2440, virginia.flighttrampolinepark.com) is at 7200 Fullerton Rd. in Springfield.
It’s one thing to bike to work every day, dodging turning cars and avoiding lackadaisical pedestrians. But that’s not exactly fun. Rolling around the city with a crew on two wheels, however, sounds a whole lot more enjoyable.
There are plenty of cycling clubs in the metropolitan area that offer after-work or weekend rides. Potomac Pedalers accommodates riders of all skill levels on trips throughout the region. The club logs more than 1,000 Saturday and Sunday rides every year, biking 10 to 75 miles per ride. Membership costs $30 for a year or $57 for two years.
There are rules to the road when riding in groups, said Chuck Harney, co-owner of the Bike Rack in the District. No listening to tunes on your headphones or racing to catch the light; it’s uncouth to leave your group in the dust.
“Cyclists learn from each other, picking up riding tips, talking about riding,” Harney said, “so it could be a learning experience.”
Eight wheels can be better than two, so break out your kneepads and helmet for a little inline skating. This low-impact workout gives you the cardio benefits of running without the same wear and tear on your joints, according to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine.
Between April and October, the Washington Area Roadskaters meet Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays near the White House. There is no cost to join; just bring your own skates. The club welcomes all skaters and offers free lessons Saturdays at Hains Point for beginners.
For a calender of Washington Area Roadskater events, go to www.skatedc.org.
The MisFits archive: Read past columns about fitness in the D.C. area at washingtonpost.com/wellness.