The Benefits of Play

The Benefits of Play

Why should we play?

The answer is simple: we want to and it’s good for us.

Most adults, however, rarely experience physical play; indeed children’s physical activity is being codified and regulated so what was previously just for fun is now part of a sports league or structured experiential learning program. The result is that most of us stop engaging in physical play at a very young age, which has serious consequences for our body’s development and our emotional well-being.

In the context of movement and physical health, play serves two purposes:

1. It allows us to enjoy our exercise more.

2. It allows us to learn faster, so we develop better movement patterns more quickly.

3. It encourages creativity and adaptation, leading us to develop a larger movement library.

Removing regular physical play from our lives prevents us from creating strong connections between our brain’s creative and problem-solving centres and our bodies.

We never fully develop the ability to express our ideas in movement, much like an artist who never masters the tools of the craft and has brilliant paintings stuck in his or her head. Lacking expression, the ideas eventually lose focus and fade.

But the physical benefits of play extend beyond the emotional and creative. Play gets us to move more, simply by making physical activity enjoyable, rather than a chore.

Play have a number of benefits over traditional workouts.

4. First and most importantly, a playout isn’t about building muscle, losing weight, or perfecting a routine: A playout is about figuring out the best way to interact with the environment in order to meet your goals. It shifts your focus from internal to external. It is about solving problems and having fun.

5.A playout integrates multiple movement patterns to overcome an obstacle. In the gym you might train pull-ups and dips separately, but if you need to climb a tree, you’ll use both in sequence, as well as weird variations of each that blur the lines. 

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