The power of play: reclaiming joy in exercise

When we were kids, we played for exercise. Now that we’re adults, we exercise for exercise. Where we once felt the joy, now we usually feel the burn (or try to). That’s a pity, because:

  • Play is something you do for the joy of doing it, rather than as a means to an end.
  • Play fires up the brain.
  • Play is the truest expression of your humanity.
  • Play allows you to become engaged.
  • Play is an anecdote to stress.

Think about what kind of active play you enjoyed as a kid. Did you hula hoop? Roller skate? Play soccer? Tap dance? Run in and out of the waves on family beach vacations? Climb trees? Hang from the monkey bars?

Then, think about fun ways of moving your body that you’ve thought about doing as an adult, but have yet to try. Salsa dance? Bellydance? Trapeze class? Zumba? Dancing around your living room to corny ‘80s music?

Decide on one type of active play you want to try and take concrete steps to make it reality. Buy a hula hoop. Find a dance class close to home or work. Crank up the music and bust a move when no one’s watching. Just play!