When was the last time you let yourself play during your daily movement practice?
No rules, no structure, no judgement, just moved for the sake of exploration and enjoyment. Without counting reps or concerning yourself with form. Giving yourself permission to look silly. Allowing yourself to fail and retry and fail again.
When was the last time you played like a kid?
We can all agree that play is an important part in childhood development. There is surely no greater teacher! So why then, do we allow that skill to die off as we age?
The benefits of play are plentiful and valuable to both our longevity and wellbeing. Participating in regular bouts of play has been shown to enhance one’s creativity, release endorphins, improve memory, stimulate the growth of the cerebral cortex (the area that moves us), restore vitality, give us a boost of energy and even support our immune system!
Can I get a “hell yeah” for play?
Without play, our brains become stagnant and we lose the ability to see creative solutions. Some experts believe that the opposite of play is not work…it is depression.
What does it mean to play?
It can mean something different to everyone. Ultimately, doing something for sheer enjoyment that doesn’t need to serve a purpose or have an end goal. It may be something you are terrible at, but it forces us to take a break from reality, use different parts of our brain, and be present and in the moment.
Finding periods of escape from the stresses of today’s world will only benefit your mental and emotional well being. Because play so often involves doing things that we are not good at, we get more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Once one is able to embrace failure, it can be harnessed as a learning tool. As you begin to use your imagination more regularly, you will start to notice that creative thinking seeps into your everyday life. You will become better at problem solving, be more inspired generally and have more plentiful and original ideas. This may also make it easier for one to deal with real life challenges when they arise.
Take a break from being rational.
Give your analytical brain a time out.
Let your inner child take the reins and….PLAY!
Kristin is part of Alchemy Hamilton’s expert coaching team. She describes herself as ‘an evolving coach, forever student, relentless explorer and frequent failer. All of these things are on display if you visit her social media handle @diaryofafitnessjunkie