Moment for Health: The Art of Play

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doggMy dog knows the art of play.

Even in his 12+ years he’ll give me the look, lay his ears back, compact himself tightly and then spring forth, his teeth bared, but in a smiley kind of way, jumping and barking all the while his tail wagging. Then he’ll run to one end of the room and do a half skooch around, run back to me, tagging his nose to my out-reached hand and continue on to the other end of the room, do another half skooch around and race right back to me.

His game of tag goes on for a few rounds, then he crashes to a halt, stands, panting, legs splayed out, his ears standing straight up and he barks his woo-woo-woo bark to me.

 My turn. I run to him tag him on the head, then he chases me jumps on me and we tumble together on the rug. And he growls and I growl and, oh wait a minute, I’m not a dog. But it doesn’t matter because play crosses any barrier and is so crucial to good health.

We all understand the importance of children playing, especially activities that use physical movements. It gives them a chance to use their energy, a chance to develop gross and fine motor skills, learn new things and socialize. Yet somewhere along into adulthood play takes a backseat to the seriousness of life.

But those very reasons for kids to play still apply to grown-ups. We just call them different terms. Instead we burn calories, develop mind/body coordination, build neural synapses and meet new people. Uh-oh. Play just became a serious matter. Yet if we take the time to switch things up, look around and see things differently, play can become a much bigger part of our lives.

Play is fun. Play is nonsensical, whimsical and generates a type of spirit that rockets the heart into outer space. It’s the incredible lightness of being found in the heart of play that gives our body a rest from its own perfunctory, methodical burdens of keeping us alive.

I came across an article by Marianne St. Clair, a life coach. I like how she states play is a state of mind, but it is a state of body, emotion and spirit as well. And I agree. If my spirit is high, my emotions are good, my body stays well. And if my body is well, my emotions are happy, and my spirit rises.

She quotes, “it is a time when we feel most alive.” Play allows you to think differently and solve problems in a new prospective. Play brings more joy and laughter and inner peace and is known to reduce stress. Studies show play is hardwired into our brain. Our existence rides heavily on the fact giving someone a funny face only to be given one right back allows us to participate in generations after generations of happy humans.

We relax and go with the flow and solutions to problems pop up as if by magic, all because a shift in attitude took place. We tell jokes, play jokes, and find ourselves butts of jokes only to revel in the onslaught of levity that surpasses any pill the medical world has to offer.

Splice the wonders of play into your life and watch the grace of the world boldly come forward and feel the energy revive a tired back, strained eyes tear in joy and achy feet dance with vigor.

Your health awaits in the form of play, a twinkle in your eye that says catch me if you can.

What’s your form of play? Could it be flying a kite, chasing a frisbee or a good old romp of hide and seek?  Take at least 30 minutes of play of day to make the medicine of life go down smoothly, deliciously and supercalifragilisticexpialidociously.

Contact Gina at [email protected].

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