I played in my son’s rugby club parents v kids touch rugby session on Sunday and today I’m stiff in the legs, much more so than from my usual running. It’s quite surprising as I only played for about ten minutes in total and I warmed up, (the only parent who did, and I’m sure I looked a fool running around, dynamically stretching, throwing a rugby ball up in the air and going through the motions of spin passing, only to play really badly, panic throwing and chasing the ball around like an idiot). I warmed up because I was terrified of straining a muscle by sprinting away from a child.
The fact that I did very little on the pitch, and yet my muscles are more sore than usual, goes to show that just a few faster efforts and bending down to retrieve a ball has had a significant physical impact. ‘Getting a shift on’ during your exercise, and maybe adding in some movements such as bending down to touch the floor, side stepping as if dodging an opponent or making a few jumps could place a demand on your body that it’s not used to and force it to adapt. In other words, a little spontaneous interval running, or fartlek training, pays dividends, and increases interest in the run. Playing a sport with your children in the park is an ideal way to achieve this effect, is heaps of fun and makes you a great role model.