When was the last time you played?
If you’re doing what we did originally, which is sitting there scratching your head trying to remember when was the last time you actually played because it was that long ago, then you my friend may be in desperate need of a “play session.” There is actually a book titled “Play” by Stuart Brown, MD, which describes exactly why you should make time for it. If there is a whole book on it- it MUST be important.
When we think about play- we think of the days on the jungle gym at recess or when we would run outside in the woods until the street lights came on with our friends. A couple games that ring a bell are Red Rover, Freeze Tag, and JailBreak.
What inspired us to talk about play is that we are both getting older, but we want to feel forever young. We participate in weight training and other activities to keep us physically fit and healthy. What we realized is we don’t prioritize play or find time for other interests/hobbies outside of our crazy work schedule. We don’t go do something physical just because it’s fun and honestly we have no excuse.
So this year we decided we are going to change that.
Why do we think play diminishes as an adult?
We all know the significance of play for children. It is extremely important for their all around development. Some people will say in adulthood we don’t need to indulge in play anymore as our physical, mental, and emotional skills are already developed. But let’s be honest, we all know at least one adult in desperate need of further development!
Unfortunately, as we get older we tend to take on more “things” or what some adults may refer to as responsibilities. *Insert eye roll here* As we see an increase in responsibilities, we tend to see a decrease in our hobbies and interests. I mean, Sarah and I have been guilty of this too. What we forget is how “play” as an adult can enhance our careers, relationships, and friendships. We could actually argue play for adults is critical in our stressful go-go-go lives with all these responsibilities! Play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, and stimulate creativity. And it can even help to keep us young and feeling energetic. I mean c’mon it helps keep you young?! What’s not to like about that? If we want to get technical- studies show that play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex. Play has also been shown to trigger the secretion of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.
We also go wrong as adults by getting set in our ways sometimes. We only stick with what we like and avoid what we don’t like. We challenge you to roll the dice and just try to have fun and try new things. We are trying rock climbing AND snow shoeing. We HATE the cold, but snowshoeing sounds fun! So WHY NOT?!
We don’t want anyone to accept because there are more candles than there are cakes, they are doomed to feel stiff, broken, lethargic, and immobile. That is not the case. You should be able to continue to play!
What does play look like as an adult though?
Play is going out and doing whatever makes you feel good mentally and physically. Especially in today’s world- if you can participate in “play” that allows you to forget about the “real world” for a period of time- then you are golden! For instance- it could be an activity such as rock climbing, hiking, playing pickup basketball, soccer, softball/baseball, disc golf, darts, archery, whatever makes you smile. As long as it can bring both happiness and movement to your life- it is good. Now we don’t want to downplay other things such as: cards, board games, arts & crafts, knitting, crotcheting, etc. as these are also considered “play.” Keep in mind- what works for you may infuriate someone else.
We hope you are learning after reading this that we just want the general public to know that any sort of movement or hobby which makes you happy and challenges you mentally and physically is totally acceptable and good for your overall health in the long term.
The number one thing we don’t want is for our clients to accept the myth that you can’t have fun and try new things as you age. That is not the case. Age is really just a number if you have the right mindset.
So get out and play!