Why You Should Continue to Play No Matter Your Age
There are multiple benefits of getting your kids to play. It keeps
them active, it keeps them social, and it keeps them out of your hair for a
bit. If playtime is so beneficial, why is it limited to only kids?
It doesn't have to be. For adults, "playing" can mean any recreational activity in your free time. There are a number of reasons why you should continue to "play" no matter how old you are. Here are five.
1. It Keeps You Physically Fit
It's no secret that staying active results in many positive effects, including weight control, mood improvement and increased energy. That's why it's a good idea to make physical activity your form of "play" time at least three times a week.
This doesn't mean simply hitting the gym or going for a run, although it certainly can. But there are a limitless number of activities that can give you a good work out. Join a touch football league. Take a bike ride. Go for a swim. Play a game of pick-up basketball. Take a yoga class.
With so many options, there's really no excuse to not use exercise as a form of play.
2. It Keeps You Young
Adult playtime isn't reserved for those fresh out of college. It's something you should continue throughout life into your later years, particularly outdoor activities.
For example, a study of adults age 66 and older found that those who exercised outside were generally more active than those who worked out indoors. With that the case, exercising outdoors might be the remedy for the all-too-common "I just don't feel like it" excuse.
Further, there is evidence that regular exercise helps your brain and body feel more alert, which can make you feel younger no matter how old you are.
3. It Keeps You Productive
While you know the physical benefits of regular activity, one of the perceived drawbacks is that it keeps you away from work. It's technically true that an hour at the gym means an hour away from the office, but that shouldn't matter, considering regular exercise makes you more productive at work.
It makes sense. If some form of physical activity makes you more alert and energized, that will be reflected in your work productivity. Exercise also improves mental health and generally prevents illnesses, which both also mean more time at work as well.
In other words, don't think of exercise or playtime as a work detractor. Think of it as a productivity enhancer.
4. It Keeps You Mentally Healthy
Playtime for adults isn't only limited to physical activity, but that doesn't make it any less beneficial. There are many leisure activities for you to take part in that don't require strenuous physical activity--game night with the family, dinner and drinks with friends, or a monthly book club are just a few examples.
While these activities won't necessarily boost your physical strength and stamina, there's a good chance they will help you mentally. In fact, one study suggests that social activities decrease symptoms of depression among older adults.
That can apply to any age group, however. Taking part in some sort of fun activity with family or friends gives you a chance to get away from whatever stresses you may have at the time. And that can only help in the long run.
5. It Helps Your Relationships
There are two ways playtime for adults can improve relationships.
When it comes to significant others, leisure activities help you share joy and help foster vitality and resilience in your relationship. It's also a low-stress way to address and disagreements or resentments that may exist.
Playtime can help non-romantic relationships as well. Just as kids learn way to communicate and socialize with others during playtime, leisure activities help adults remain social and further improve their overall communication skills.
Don't Play Too Hard
The old adage says "Work hard, play hard," but there are obvious dangers when it comes to playing too hard. For example, if you're "playing" so much that it negatively affects your relationships or status at work, it may be time to dial it back.
That said, the more common problem among adults is not enough playtime, rather than too much. And as you see, even a little playtime each day can drastically improve all areas of your life.