Paintball is Good Exercise

June 15, 2009 · 10 comments

My 12 year old son has been cajoling me for a couple of years to take him paintballing, and yesterday I finally gave in. After 5 hours of paintball play at Splat Tag I can tell you that not only is paintball fun, it is good exercise too. I’ve played paintball once about 15 years ago, and because of that experience I knew a little about what I was getting into. But man, the first time you rush out to get behind a bunker or a downed tree in the woods, you are reminded how exhausting this really can be. (It didn’t help that in the morning I mowed the lawn and pulled a huge bag of weeds. Or that I played 18 holes of golf the day before!)

If you aren’t sure what paintball is all about, check out some paintball videos, then do a search in your local community for paintball fields. Since I live out in the country, or at least close to the country, the fields around here are typically on untillable farmland like the woods in between farm fields. They do have indoor paintball fields in the cities or outdoors in small fields strewn with manmade barricades, but for me there is nothing better than playing in full woods. Basically what it is all about is splitting into two teams, getting a gun that fires paint at 300fps, donning protective face mask and playing games like capture the flag. It’s pretty intense!

The mix of people yesterday was very interesting - we played in an open game and the skill levels ranged from people like my son and I, who just wore jeans, long shirts and rented our equipment, to absolute fanatics who had full combat armor, high-end equipment and participated in tournaments. One guy was in full SWAT gear including a shin holstered pistol and the car he drove to the game was a used police car. This guy was hard core! I also liked the guy who had a sawed-off shotgun strapped to his back. Regrettably, I never saw him pull it out to shoot but I assume it fired multiple paintballs at once.

The first game we played I stuck close to my son and we stayed pretty far back guarding our base. We moved up a little from our initial position, but really didn’t move a lot. But even with that I recognized I was going to be in for a hot, tiring day. As the day went on we got a little more involved in the action and moved around a lot more. The most tiring moment for me was when I got pinned behind a tree and then shot from my flank, and once you get shot you need to walk off the field. Instead of going back down the path I came from I took another path that sent me up a VERY long and steep hill, and I was really breathing hard when I got to the top. The facemask made it even harder to breath, and you can’t take it off while on the field so I had a long walk where I was huffing and puffing until I could get to safety.

I don’t know that this is something I’ll be doing a lot (although my son may force the issue as he really enjoyed it) but it really was fun and working up a sweat in any way is good. Looking to mix up your fitness routine? Maybe try shooting a little paint at someone!

Contest update: As of today 31 people have entered with a total of 71 entries. Still not too late to get in! With 7 prizes up for grabs you still have good odds of winning a prize, and remember, the top three prizes are cash. One thing I have learned in hosting this contest is that there are a LOT of blogs that do nothing but post about blog contests, so the vast majority of entrants are those kind, which is kind of a bummer - next time I have a contest I’ll be sure to limit it to weight loss bloggers only. So if you have a weight loss blog be sure to enter so we increase the odds of an actual reader winning!

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Tyson June 15, 2009 at 9:56 am

I love playing paintball. Nothing gets the heart pumping like being shot at!

To be honest getting shot at didn’t do that for me - but crawling on your belly in thick woods knowing there is an enemy up there “somewhere” - now that really got the ticker going!

Jonathan Aluzas June 15, 2009 at 10:35 am

Paintball is fantastic. I recommend, if possible, to do it with a group of people you know so as to avoid interacting with the militant types who take it just a bit too seriously. Also, padded clothing is important because it hurts.

Any illusions you might have of being G.I. Joe will go out the window the first time you have to sprint across an open field, evade enemy fire and dive behind an oil drum. That one action will drain your legs and crush your lungs, no matter how fit you are! But it’s fun, no matter how humbling.

You are probably right, but you know, even the militant types were pretty cool about everything. One example, we were playing a D-Day style map where our team was the German’s, which pretty much means you use up a lot of paint. I was camped next to a serious player and when I ran out of paint he though nothing of offering one of his cannisters, which I thought was pretty cool.

Hanlie June 15, 2009 at 10:48 am

I’ve never played paintball! And my husband is far too competitive for me to consider doing it with him…

I only saw one girl playing all day, it seemed like most of the women stayed back at base camp to socialize. I know my wife said she would have zero interest in it.

Tom Rooney June 15, 2009 at 10:48 am

Hey John, you get the best of both worlds by getting some exercise with your paintball game and hanging with your son for the day. What’s better than that?

A very good point that I should have highlighted - you are absolutely right!

Diane June 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm

I’ve never played paintball, but I bet my five sons would love it. I think it’s a job for my hubby as I’m a little bit scared of the whole gun/hunting thing! I’m enjoying reading your blog. I lost a lot of weight myself and enjoy reading about other people’s successes and challenges.

MamaBearJune June 15, 2009 at 8:27 pm

I think I’ll pass. I’ve seen the bruises those balls make! :-)

Jenks June 16, 2009 at 5:28 am

I’ve never been one to volunteer to be shot with a paintball, the welts look much to painful…but you made it sound fun. Sounds like you had a blast and so did your son, and with him getting ready to go into his teen years, it’s a great time to find something that you two can share together.
I say if he keeps wanting to spend time with you, even if it’s shooting at you, take the time with him now before he decides he’s to cool to be seen out with his dad.

Great point, I’m not looking forward for that day but I imagine it will come.

Angie June 16, 2009 at 7:41 am

John, it is good to see you are posting more frequently. I really enjoy reading your thoughts.
Paintball sounds like a fun way to get great exercise.
Have a great week and many positive healthy thoughts coming your way.

Thank you Angie, I appreciate your support.

Keith (My Body Fat Blog) June 16, 2009 at 9:59 am

Paintball is fun when your not getting hit. I find they hurt the most when they hit the back of your legs and your bottom. Its a great way to burn off the excess calories though.

TB--Milwaukee June 16, 2009 at 11:19 am

Just went at the end of May. It was a hoot!! I did an entry on it too and noticed a big difference between paintballers.

I missed your paintball post when you made it TB, but you make some great points. The defender waiting in the shadows was definitely me this game and I have a long way to go before I’ll be running in on the attack. Great visual, thank you.

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