Summer is here… warm weather, outdoor time, longer daylight… It’s time for some fun and frivolity. School is out, kids are shifting from work to play- why can’t we by putting some play in our daily/ weekly plan?
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”- George Bernard Shaw.
Stuart Brown, MD has researched the role of play in shaping the lives and dispositions of children and adults. He has written the book, Play, and is the founder of the National Institute for Play (http://www.nifplay.org). Dr. Brown states that “Play is all around us, yet it goes mostly unnoticed or under-appreciated until it is missing”. He found a lack of play in ones life can lead to maladaption and aggression, while playfulness, and laughter can rekindle relationships and can facilitate deep connections. (http://www.psycentral.com.) A sense of play is crucial to a child’s development and it can add joy, laughter, enhance pleasure, relieve stress and enhance learning and creativity in an adult as well. Play through sports and exercise is especially beneficial to creating an active mind, improve strength and conditioning as well as improve socialization. An active body results in an active mind. (http://www.phitamerica.org)
According to the American Council on Exercise (http://www.acefitness.org), playing sports has many benefits in addition to fostering a healthy body while bringing out “play”:
-Build a sense of character, teamwork, social skills and cooperation.
-Fosters the ability to handle winning and losing while being a good sport.
Playing with your kids, be it pick up sports, or games like tag, allows you an opportunity to model behavior, teach sportsmanship and cooperation, and facilitate winning as well as losing with grace. Note- if you play too intensely, losing the “play”…that is no fun for ANYONE. Maintain perspective when playing with kids! It is our job to model sportsmanship, teamwork, and accountability- not to ruin or turn kids off of sports with our intensity.
For a change up this summer- take your workout out of the gym and put some playful competition into your fitness plan. Playing sports and games that incorporate endurance, strength and agility are more functional, utilizing more muscle groups at a time, and they are usually more fun which will help you stick too it. People are more likely to do something they enjoy- so keep your exercise fun, simple, fresh and PLAY!
Calories burned per hour of activity: http://www.fitday.com.
-Badminton, social game 202 cal/hr
-Children’s games (tag, 4 square, playground) 230 cal/hr
-Playing catch, social 86 cal/hr
-Soccer or Tennis, social. 346 cal/ hr
-Frisbee or mini golf. 115 cal/ hr
So, have fun, connect and put some play in your plan!