Juniper Times

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The Absolute Importance of Play

When I look back at my childhood I can see all of the things that might have been considered exercise. We considered it play and had fun. There are so many benefits to this activity and it doesn’t stop at weight.

Physical Benefits: Riding a bike, roller skating and building tree forts are fun… and they take effort. Two of them are outdoor activities which can provide vitamin D and in some places, fresher air. Having a variety works different muscle groups, helping to keep them strong. They can also help with either gross or fine motor skills.

Mental: Until it becomes muscle memory these and many other types of play require planning. They need to be thought out. Not doing so can end up with a smashed finger, scraped knees and other unpleasant surprises, so the person doing them learns to pay attention.

Emotional: A child might not think about this, though it still works for them. Adults need to add it to their encouragement to go out and play. It relieves stress. It puts problems on the back burner and usually, at the end of the games, with a better idea of how to handle problems. It also releases the runner’s high hormones, making those who participated happier.

Age: By now you may be thinking this is great for the kids. It’ll help to get them active. Playing is not just for children. Everyone needs to play. Running on a treadmill is nowhere near is beneficial as running around the bases in a pickup game of softball with the neighbors. An exercise bike doesn’t bring near the exhilaration of riding a bicycle down a steep hill.