It’s widely acknowledged that play is good for kids. It helps them learn and grow and think creatively. Knowing this, why on earth do we ever stop? It seems to me that sometimes people think they’ve outgrown the need for play time, or that it is something frivolous that takes up time better spent elsewhere. I would like to put a stop to that kind of thinking right now. No matter our age taking time to play can benefit both our physical and mental health.
The physical benefits of play may be a little straightforward. Playing sports like basketball or baseball, spending some time jumping on a trampoline or playing tag with your kids are great ways to get exercise. One of the best ways to make sure we get enough exercise is by having fun while we’re working out. Finding a sport or game that we enjoy that gets us up and moving really helps us to stay in shape without it feeling like work.
As far as the mental benefits of playing, they can be extensive. It can help relieve stress, improve our brain function, keep us energized and even improve our relationships. If nothing else spending a little time doing something fun will take us away from our stress and trouble, at least for a little while. When we do get back into the daily grind, we often do so with a clearer head, making it easier to navigate the stresses of any given day. Doing fun things with people we love is also an important thing to consider. When we play together we get to know each other better and grow together.
Keeping our minds and bodies active is an important part of our health. Playing games such as checkers or sudoku keeps our minds active and engaged. This may even help in preventing diseases such as Alzheimers. Really think about that for a moment, disease prevention through play!
No matter how you choose to play and no matter which benefit you’re seeking, get out there and have some fun doing it!