Category Archives: Fun

Fun toys to get you outside this summer

Summer is officially here. It’s time for pedicures, beefing-up on barbecue skills, and generally doing anything that calls us out into the fresh air and sun. It is the best time to take fitness outdoors too, and I don’t mean lugging the treadmill out of the backroom to the porch. In case you forgot, there’s no age limit on playing outside.  Bikes, roller skates, skateboards, and jump ropes are great go-to summer toys, but here are a few other fun outdoor ideas you might have forgotten:

Trampolines

My parents claimed this was the best investment they ever bought our family. We used it regularly, every summer, for 15 years, with lots of giggling, lots of exercise, and luckily, no broken bones.

Kites

Kites are beautiful, artistic, and fun to run around with in the hopes of setting aloft. Make it a DIY party and gather some friends, craft your own, and have a kite-flying contest. Here’s a cool do-it-yourself kite from Popular Mechanics.

Water Guns – or better yet, Water Balloons!

Personal politics about warfare and guns aside, this is a great way to cool down and laugh when it’s hot. Play capture the flag with teams of friends. Or have a little one-on-one couples therapy. Loser makes dinner.

Unicycle

Not only a mode of transportation, it’s a great way to work on balance skills and impress friends. When starting out, a good spot goes a long way. Be patient and you’ll soon be speed cycling with the best single wheelers out there.

Pedalo

A wooden German toy that’s been around for decades, it’s a slightly safer variation on the unicycle. The pedalo builds balance and body awareness. Preparing you to be a natural on the…

Tight rope

Go to the local hardware store and get a strong, thick rope. Tether it, securely to 2 points, starting at just a few inches to a foot off of the ground.  Have tight rope walking competitions. See who can balance the longest, walk forward and backward, maybe even jump up and down. If you’re an adult at a barbecue with friends, watch out for “beer confidence”. No sprained ankles, please.

Retro Toys – Pogo Sticks, hula hoops, and Slip n’ Slide?

These were all popular for good reasons…except maybe slip n slide, with personal memories of grass stains and elbows burns. A lot of the flash back toys are silly mayhem for adults and kids alike. As a parent, you might be able to show off your impressive muscle memory skills to the young ones.

What are your favorite outdoor toys? Send us your ideas!

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Pilates of the Caribbean

Thanks to Michael Capozzola for creating and Ben Maher for passing it on. Bay Area keeping it real…funny.

The Umbrella of Art, Fun, and Health- Bumbershoot

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Playing at Bumbershoot

Exercise needs to cease being known as exercise.

…or fitness, or any other word that might drudge up feelings and prefaces like “should” or “have to”.

Fitness is more than just a treadmill. It’s a pause to take a breath of fresh air, to look at your surroundings and smile, to be compelled to pursue something that makes you a stronger person inside and out. Fitness is caring for The Self, and “Doing” that’s playful, enriching, and at it’s finest moments, an art.

It’s something that makes you forget about exercise and fitness, as we know them.

Joelle Pendergass brings this to St. Louis. Her new studio Bumbershoot Aerial Arts is a school of all things playful and fun, for adults. Yes. That means you.

Let’s be honest. Along the way it becomes hard work to “have fun”. Much easier to find excuses not to try. Letting go of carefully woven inhibitions can be our biggest challenge and the staunchest foe.  And besides, “I can’t”, “there’s no way”, “not at my age”, “I’d need to get in shape first”, and the always present “I’m too ______(fill in the blank)”.

In the blink of an eye, we have defeated…ourselves.

Anyone who is able to relinquish their self doubt just long enough – like the boulder closing in on Indiana Jones’ hat – can find a whole world of creative possibilities open up.  For inspiration, I recommend reading interviews with Bunny Herring, here and here.

Joelle gives people the gift of that moment – letting their guard down just long enough to discover new sources of inner strength, creativity, and fun.

Bumbershoot is on one of those places where exercise ceases to be exercise.

Trapeze-Training

If you live in the St. Louis area stop by and meet Joelle at Bumbershoot. She offers a one time free class Saturdays at 4pm if you are interested in letting go… by holding onto a trapeze, silks, juggling balls, a partner in an acrobatic yoga class, or any number of other fitness arts.

Bumbershoot is easy to find in an expanding block of activity in Benton Park.  Next to fried-chicken purveyor Hodaks, Bumbershoot is in the Polar Ice building, also home to Shock City recording studios, and soon Bittersweet Bakery.

Of course Bumbershoot would not be complete without top-notch pilates instruction and core balance training, sooooo….

I will be offering Pilates classes and private training at Bumbershoot. Please refer to the schedule of classes page on this site for more information.

What are you waiting for? Even if you live outside of St. Louis, nothing’s holding you back from “Doing” that thing that makes you feel stronger inside and out, whether your fun is gardening or walking in the park. Skip the exercise and go have fun instead.

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Fun Fad Fitness – What’s New?

Pole dancing and boot camps are so 2002. The latest creations of fitness marketing research seems to have stepped away from the army and strip clubs and are heading to the circus to seek out combining fitness and fun…and a little death defying too.

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Check out the NYT article on some of the most recent aerial trends.

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…Although, you could just hook a rope in the backyard tree, or go play on your neighbors trampoline. A little less supervised perhaps, a bit more dangerous, and not quite as fancy. But you don’t need much to get fresh air and a bit of fun! Just a thought…

Mind Body Medicine: A Good Laugh

This is a good place to start on a Monday, the most unfunny day of the week.

Science, Art, Religion and various realms of knowledge are slowly melding back together under one roof….the human experience. What we instinctively do, is often for the betterment of humankind and ourselves. Take Laughter. And then take these families here, for example…

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Did you crack a smile?

Remember the old adage ” Laughter is the best medicine”?

Realizing this post bears a striking resemblance to mass fluff emails from well meaning relatives and coworkers.  Admit it. You’ve smiled at one of those emails before, even a little. At least one thing here should coerce a laugh, or at least create recognition to the benefit of having one.

…also keeping in mind a newly edited old adage “beauty, [and humor] is in the eye of the beholder”…

We live in such a cynical society. Just let go sometimes.

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

Shared laughter is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. All emotional sharing builds strong and lasting relationship bonds, but sharing laughter and play adds joy, vitality, and resilience. And humor is a powerful and effective way to heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Laughter unites people during difficult times.

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Using humor and laughter in relationships allows you to:

  • Be more spontaneous. Humor gets you out of your head and away from your troubles.
  • Let go of defensiveness. Laughter helps you forget judgments, criticisms, and doubts.
  • Release inhibitions. Your fear of holding back and holding on are set aside.
  • Express your true feelings. Deeply felt emotions are allowed to rise to the surface.
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  • Laughter dissolves distressing emotions. You can’t feel anxious, angry, or sad when you’re laughing.
  • Laughter helps you relax and recharge. It reduces stress and increases energy, enabling you to stay focused and accomplish more.
  • Humor shifts perspective, allowing you to see situations in a more realistic, less threatening light. A humorous perspective creates psychological distance, which can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

OKAY ALREADY. So how do you start laughing more?

Funny Dog Costume

Laughter breeds creativity

  • Smile. Smiling is the beginning of laughter. Like laughter, it’s contagious. Pioneers in “laugh therapy,” find it’s possible to laugh without even experiencing a funny event. The same holds for smiling. When you look at someone or see something even mildly pleasing, practice smiling.
  • Count your blessings. Literally make a list. The simple act of considering the good things in your life will distance you from negative thoughts that are a barrier to humor and laughter. When in a state of sadness, we have further to travel to get to humor and laughter.
  • When you hear laughter, move toward it. Sometimes humor and laughter are private, a shared joke among a small group, but usually not. More often, people are very happy to share something funny because it gives them an opportunity to laugh again and feed off the humor you find in it. When you hear laughter, seek it out and ask, “What’s funny?”
  • Spend time with fun, playful people. These are people who laugh easily–both at themselves and at life’s absurdities–and who routinely find the humor in everyday events. Their playful point of view and laughter are contagious.
  • Bring humor into conversations. Ask people, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you today? This week? In your life?”

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  • Watch a funny movie or TV show.
  • Go to a comedy club.
  • Seek out funny people.
  • Share a good joke or a funny story.
  • Check out your bookstore’s humor section.
  • Host game night with friends.
  • Play with a pet.
  • Go to a “laughter yoga” class.
  • Goof around with children.
  • Do something silly.
  • Make time for fun activities (e.g. bowling, miniature golfing, karaoke).

To Find out more about Laughing Yoga.

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Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go out of your way to have a hearty laugh at least once a day, preferably with someone else. Waka Waka!

storm troopers

storm troopers

Kind of funny, right?

Much of the bulleted information taken from Help Guide.org

Many of the awkward family photos from awkwardfamilyphotos.com

Several other photos were snagged from one of my favorite wordsmiths, Capitol J

Mix It Up – Pull together your own adventure team

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You might not feel like GI Joe/Jane. Maybe somedays you look like Mr. T, but that’s besides the point…

You too can feel like one of the team…in your own urban non-cartoon kind of way.

I knew a group of coworkers who would come to my pilates class once in awhile. They had developed a plan where every week they took turns choosing an exercise activity. They mixed it up between spinning, pilates, yoga, walking, cycling, hiking, dancing, and on and on. The opportunities and inspirations are endless!

It’s a creative way to hang out with friends, get out of your comfort zone,  and try new things. Having a group means the onus is not always on you. Being a “team player” makes it easier to commit to keeping it up.

Don’t go much bigger than a group of 3 or 4, friends, couples, what have you, unless you have some very organized friends.

The laughter alone in trying new things is certain to put you in a better mood and enhance your creativity, if not burn a few extra calories along the way.

What are you waiting for? Remember, knowing is half the battle.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

Make Yourself a Little Nervous (trapeze debut)

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We all have our imperfections we wish we could change. It’s hard to be a woman and not have body issues.  Nevertheless, I had always dreamed of doing something daring and pretty. St. Louis has Aerial Arts classes for adults. Without forethought, I registered.

I was by far the oldest in the class, the youngest, Ruby, was twelve. Intimidated by my own body, there were definitely feelings of doubt. The soreness and bruises in the beginning were pretty crazy. But the drive to prove to myself I could do this was so strong, that the bruises became marks of fierceness.

I had a goal: to get through 3 months of trapeze and perform in a recital. (It’s all I talked about for 3months). For the recital, I unwittingly invited everyone I could muster, realizing later, the stakes were now raised.

And I did it.

It’s imperfect, just like me, but beautiful in its imperfection. I did it.  I was a trapeze performer. Funny thing is, without realizing it, the shaping up and being healthier thing just happened. It was too much fun to notice. The whole experience has been mentally and physically exhilarating.

Which is why I am sharing it with you…not to mention every ex boyfriend and junior high nemesis to see. Geesh. I prefer internet photo anonymity, but I’m swallowing my pride and embarrassment hoping my experience can inspire someone else. Not to specifically do a trapeze class, but something new, just slightly out of your comfort zone. Make life a little more breath taking!