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Arie Boomsma on connecting with your inner child

Arie Boomsma, a fitness entrepreneur, podcast host, writer, and father of three, draws inspiration from his children’s playful perspective on life, which has sparked a profound connection with his own inner child. This connection has not only fostered joy, but also infused him with renewed energy and zest for life. During our conversation, we explored the importance of embracing playfulness throughout adulthood. Plus, dare to embrace change in our Astrological Forecast for July.

On the perspective of playfulness and saying “yes”
“When you have children, you rediscover a playful outlook on the world. Kids find a climbing rack in a scaffold along a house and immediately want to climb it, hang from a slide, and engage in all sorts of playful activities. Their perspective is incredibly refreshing. As a parent, if you can embrace that “yes” mentality and actively participate in their playfulness, including crawling and frolicking, it’s a tremendous victory. Last week, I attempted a rollover and even tried standing on my head because my kids are taking breakdance classes. Let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks!”

On releasing judgment to connect with the inner child
“Take a moment to observe your child and discover their interests and fears. As you learn about your child, you’re also strengthening your bond by spending quality time together. Then, allow yourself to let go of concerns about others’ opinions and actively participate. The first time can be challenging as it requires confronting your own self-perceptions. Jumping over a fence or onto a table, or engaging in exercises like crawling with knees off the floor or bear crawling may not be routines you typically follow, but they are beautiful exercises. If you seek inspiration, social media can serve as a great starting point.”

On leaving your comfort zone
“Stepping out of our comfort zone has a profound impact on our mental well-being as it reveals that our fears, limits, or concerns are often not as real as we initially thought. It’s mentally beneficial because it encourages us to explore new possibilities. When we view the world as our playground, our perspective on things undergoes a remarkable shift. Accomplishing something we were initially afraid of brings tremendous satisfaction. There are instances where we need to train for certain challenges, and when we eventually conquer them, it becomes a significant achievement. It is within that progression that we find immense mental strength.”

On creating space for open-mindedness
“When engaging in activities reminiscent of childhood, there is an almost observable chemical reaction that occurs within us from this open-mindedness and carefree approach to life. It reinforces the notion that if we continue to engage in activities and consistently practice them, we can maintain our abilities. It’s a “use it or lose it” scenario. Challenge yourself to maintain balance while walking on a fence barefoot, or attempt walking on your hands—an ability I personally acquired much later in life. These endeavors provide exceptional mental training as they involve conquering fears and achieving success. Such accomplishments extend beyond the immediate activity and often translate to other areas of life. Suddenly, that daunting conversation you were dreading becomes easier because you have realized your capacity to tackle challenging tasks. The beauty lies in the fact that stepping out of our physical comfort zone reverberates throughout all aspects of our lives.”

On playfulness stimulating creativity
“Scientific evidence suggests that to enhance productivity and achieve a state of flow while working on a task, it is beneficial to incorporate regular breaks involving entirely different activities. These breaks create renewed mental space for creativity. When you find yourself stuck while writing, taking a break and engaging in something active can be immensely helpful. Whether it’s doing cartwheels, increasing your heart rate through physical activity, tending to the garden, or going for a walk, these actions can help you break free from the mental block. Playful mini-breaks serve to stimulate creativity and, consequently, increase productivity.”

On how routine creates space for play 
“Routine provides a framework and helps us build momentum. In “The Stonecutter’s Creedo,” Jacob Riis described a stone cutter who diligently strikes a rock, perhaps delivering over a hundred blows. Eventually, the moment arrives when the stone splits in two. However, the stone cutter knows that it wasn’t that specific strike alone, but the culmination of all the previous strikes that led to the breakthrough. This is the essence of routine—trusting in repetition and recognizing how it contributes to eventual success. Establishing a rhythm allows room for spontaneity and playfulness. Without structure, we often feel overwhelmed, leaving no space for playfulness to emerge. Playfulness arises spontaneously, but it is a mindset that permeates our perception of the world. It involves embracing opportunities to engage in playful activities, exercise, and push beyond our comfort zones. For instance, if I were to encounter a scaffold at the right height, I would pause and perform pull-ups, attempt one-handed hanging, or practice toes to bar.”

On finding opportunities for play
“We often perceive engaging in playful activities as childish when we’re adults, but I regularly share videos where I use my kids’ playground as a gym, utilizing the swings, slides, and monkey bars. It’s not about achieving a specific outcome; rather, it’s about embracing novelty and discovering where it leads. In our society, the norm revolves around sitting, being cautious, wearing sunglasses, prioritizing protection, safety, and luxurious comfort. It’s not about stepping out of our comfort zones, moving, repeating, practicing, and becoming stronger. Consequently, these behaviors are now seen as unconventional. However, even a regular office environment offers opportunities for play. Try turning the simple act of throwing crumpled-up paper into a bin into a game with a colleague, or incorporate desk pushups and tricep dips using your chair.”

On allowing yourself to dance
“After dinner, my family often puts on music and dances together. Dancing with kids is an incredibly liberating experience. They may not have the best sense of rhythm, but they find joy in the act and don’t mind whether you’re a good dancer or not. They simply love it when you join them in the dance. As we grow older, we might be inclined to let the kids dance while we sit and engage in conversation. However, I view it as an opportunity to break free from inhibitions and wholeheartedly embrace the moment with our children.”

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