Today I find myself thinking about play–playtime, fun, recess, games, and all those things that we associate with a happy childhood. We know that children who are given adequate opportunities to use their large muscles and move during the school day actually learn better when they return to the classroom. Kids with ADHD, especially those with challenges in the area of impulse control and hyperactivity, need even more time for exercise and play than other kids. They focus much better after exercise.
What about adults? Do we lose our need for play and opportunities to use our large muscles just because we age out of recess? Yesterday I was thinking a lot about exercise and its positive effects on mood and cognitive abilities. Today I’m wondering if exercise would be more inviting if it were more like recess. I think it would for me!
My memories of recess include playing softball and foursquare, climbing on monkey bars, swinging so high that the frame of the swing set would leave the ground, hanging from the trapeze and watching the world fly by upside down. Maybe we need playgrounds for grownups with swings and slides and monkey bars scaled for larger people. Are there such places?
Or maybe we can search for the playful place within ourselves and reconnect with it. We may find it directing us to find the joy of play in new places. Maybe swimming or dancing or a ropes course with a zip line is calling to us now, or cycling or running or mountain climbing. It’s important to listen to that childlike, happy voice calling us to reconnect with the exuberant joy of play. The added bonus will be that it is also exercise and it will also help us focus and feel more content!
**Now it’s time to report on my pledge to walk two miles every day this month and also to do some yoga every day. My yoga for today is scheduled for right after I post this blog entry, and today’s walking took the form of a hike in the Appalachian foothills this morning. It was a perfectly gorgeous early fall day in Sky Meadows State Park. Neil and I climbed up and down through forests and pastures (dodging cow pies with every step – and the occasional cow as you can see in the picture below). We walked on grass and dirt and lots and lots of rocks. We didn’t walk the last 1.8 miles that would have taken us to the Appalachian Trail, but we’re considering that for next weekend. Based on the park trail map we walked much more than two miles. I’ll be checking off today’s challenge as met as soon as I do my yoga.