Give the Body What It Needs: PLAY!

July 23, 2014

As adults we have quite a bit of work to do, and play seems to function as a protective mechanism against the costs of this work; a buffer against stress, a support during life transitions, a means of forming bonds and alliances, a jump start for creativity and problem-solving. –Christine Caldwell

The past few weeks we have been looking at how exercise gives the body what it needs.

Well, I interrupt the series this week and invite us all to play!

Yes, play!

Get out and just have fun, moving in any way that you can right now,  just for the fun of it!

I took my younger children to the Boston Children’s Museum last week. I was reminded of the huge value of play.  (The Museum’s website offers very convincing research on the subject).

Play is not only important for children, adults can benefit from it too – maybe even more so because it is not something we adults do naturally.  (Well, most adults anyway.)

Play is connected to creativity, problem solving, social connections, learning, health and communication.

How about playing computer games? That’s play, right?? First of all, you already know about sitting disease.  Computer games are missing key components that make play so beneficial: live, in-person social interaction, movement, etc.

So, this has me thinking: How can we make exercise more like play time?

Can we let go a little of the need to accomplish and just enjoy moving in some way, without the rules like, “I have to do 30 minutes or it doesn’t count,”  or “go big or go home,”  or “I have to get my heart rate up to___,” or “I need to keep up with everyone else,”  or “I don’t want to look foolish.”

Movement is more playful when it is done with a childlike sense of curiosity and wonder, enjoying what we CAN do versus focusing on what we cannot do right now.

Many of the “rules” about exercise are for sports performance. Yes, to excel in a sport or physical activity, we need to be regimented in our training.

But when the goal is improving health and weight, the rules are a bit more relaxed.  In fact, if exercise is too stressful, we are undoing many of its positive health benefits.

Focusing on play keeps exercise from getting stressful and heightens the well being benefits.

So, let’s all take it a little less seriously—and get out for some serious play.  Enjoy moving, laughing, connecting, learning!

Please comment with any great ways you make movement more playful!

We don’t stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing. –George Bernard Shaw


Keep Moving, Be Well!


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One response to “Give the Body What It Needs: PLAY!

  1. Pingback: It’s summer! Stop trying, start playing! | Keep Moving Weekly

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