Why play is so important
It keeps you in the moment/makes you present; you're not thinking about exercising, you're just moving.
Play is fun
Humans are designed to play; that’s why when it’s fun, we naturally want to engage in it. This should be reason enough. But a lot of us have been scarred (and scared) by the stigma against play and the false belief that real adults don’t do such frivolous things. So here are nine more reasons why you should play.
Play is creative
We make new associations and connections, we imagine alternatives, we play with novelty, we see metaphors and solutions.
Play is essential
It is an important part of brain development and appears to be fundamental in maintaining a healthy mind.
Play keeps you young
A variety of different forms of both physical and mental play keep the brain and the rest of the body flexible and strong. People who play are not only less likely to develop dementia, they are less likely to have heart disease.
Play prepares us for anything
"In a world continuously presenting unique challenges and ambiguity, play prepares us to adapt", as stated by biologist and animal play expert Bob Fagen. Play is our opportunity to rehearse new behaviors in low-risk situations.
Play gives our big brains something to do
In fact, play gives us a big brain. Species with larger brains relative to their body size are more playful than species with smaller brains relative to their body size.
Play makes you smarter
Play, especially active play, stimulates BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which supports the growth of new neurons, encourages existing neurons to make new connections, and fights the effects of stress.
Play helps us navigate
It helps our bodies figure out how to navigate the physical world and our psyches through the emotional and social world. We learn all kinds of important social skills in play; how to negotiate, argue constructively, act collaboratively, challenge ourselves to excel without trampling others, how to lose gracefully and how to persevere.
Play is a sign that we are okay
Stuart Brown, who writes about the subject, says that “when we are in peril, play will disappear. But studies show that when well fed, safe and rested, all mammals will play spontaneously.”
Play keeps DECAY at bay
As long as we play, we receive all the benefits of play. But when we stop playing, we stop developing, stop healing and recreating our bodies and brains, stop engaging with others, stop truly enjoying life.
So what are you waiting for? Add it to your movements, come out and play.
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