I recently came across an article in the March 2014 edition of Women’s Health—one of my all-time favorite magazines. The article, “Getting in Shape is Child’s Play,” talks about the benefits of play.
As a kid, I had no problem venturing outside and spending hours shooting hoops, climbing the jungle gym, or making up silly dances with friends (you know who you are). Between play dates and scheduled after-school activities such as dance class, basketball practice, and gymnastics, I was extremely active. Most importantly, I was burning a ton of calories without even realizing it, because it was fun.
As I grew up, these fun activities were replaced with scheduled sweat-sessions at the gym, calorie trackers and heart rate monitors. It’s very rare that I do something active or playful without the intent of fitting in my daily workout.
The National Institutes for Play defines seven different patterns of play:
– Attunement Play
– Body Play and Movement Play
– Object Play
– Social Play
– Imaginative and Pretend Play
– Storytelling-Narrative Play
– Transformative-Integrative and Creative Play
Each form of play has a developmental purpose and comes with its own benefits.
As adults, we do not truly participate in many of the different patterns of play. When was the last time you engaged in object play or imaginative and pretend play? The Women’s Health article notes that when the play aspect of movement is replaced with strict fitness routines, we lose positive emotions that can be associated with exercise.
It’s time to put some play back into our workout routines! Checkout the Women’s Health article for some great ideas on how to integrate play back into your fitness routine!