My Siesta: Why Nap When You Can Play?

This has been a sunny and warm winter in Santa Cruz — perfect for beach volleyball.  Yesterday I shut down my computer at 11:45 a.m., hopped on my bike, and headed for the beach to meet my volleyball crew — a great group of men and women age 20s-60s.

I feel blessed indeed since rumor suggests we have the largest consistent mid-weekday volleyball group in California (about 8-16 people year round). I rolled up to the beach around noon and got a game within minutes (I did a few pushups while I waited for enough players to start our third court).

Though the view and fresh air are hard to beat, one thing I love about beach volleyball is the sand.  Not only does it give me a better workout than terra firma, I can sprint and dive to get impossible shots with minimal risk of injury. Since I plan to bike and play beach volleyball and soccer into my 70s, that’s good.

Another thing I love about beach volleyball is that it uses both my fast-twitch muscles and slow-twitch muscles, all while providing a core-body workout.

Finally, sports like volleyball allow me to be present. Some people meditate, and others skydive to get “out of their mind.”  I play sports.  When I’m diving for the ball, I’m out of my mind and in the flow!

By about 2pm got in four great games and took a quick dip in the ocean before biking home.  So, in about two hours, I got to bike seven miles, do some pushups, play some beach volleyball, have a hell of a lot of fun, be present, get some sunshine, and get a great multi-dimensional workout with friends. I love my siesta.

Though I’ve never had a gym membership, people half my age regularly ask me how to stay fit. What’s my secret?  I take a daily “siesta,” just like I did yesterday. I realize this can raise some eyebrows in our workaholic American culture—Americans work more hours per year than anyone in the world. But I think physical and mental well being are priceless.

Rather than a nap during my siesta, I get outside and play for a couple of hours, starting around noon. These days I mix it up between biking, martial arts, soccer, hiking, and beach volleyball. Not only do I look forward to getting outside, I return refreshed and ready to finish my work day, after having fun, a great workout, and some sunshine.

BTW: the latest research indicates that sunshine and the Vitamin D it produces are very healthy. I do wear a sun hat such as a Sun Day Afternoon sport hat or field hat year round.

Also, when the sun is strongest, between April 21-August 21, I wear a long-sleeve shirt half the time.  I prefer standard organic cotton shirts, which are ~SPF 10.  Tighter weaves, like synthetics, are more like SPF 15-30, depending on the tightness of the weave and thickness of the shirt. Finally, since most sunscreens are toxic, I use some natural sunscreen on areas not covered by my hat and long-sleeve shirt. My favorite natural sunscreen is Hara Sport SPF 30.

What’s your favorite sport (even if you haven’t played for a while)?  Check your local park or beach for noon or after work pickup soccer or basketball, or ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, or?  Or,  find — or start — a Meetup or Yahoo or Google group or a group at work.  If you prefer to do your own thing, try some interval training or surfing or yoga during your lunch break.  Whatever you do, get outside and enjoy!

One thought on “My Siesta: Why Nap When You Can Play?

  1. Lloyd Irvin

    Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m certainly pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it
    and checking back regularly!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *