When you hear the word “play,” you likely envision young children laughing and running around in a backyard, a little boy making sound effects as toy cars crash into one another, or a group of kids making up silly games to entertain themselves. But, why does the idea of play end in childhood?
As George Bernard Shaw once said, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” There are many benefits of play for individuals of all ages, and at Vivage, we believe it is a crucial part of our overall health and wellness.
Throughout each of our communities, we offer a holistic approach to the care we provide, and including an engagement aspect. We see the impact that play has on individuals every day, so we are answering the question: why is play important?
The Benefits of Play for Everyone
Reduces Stress Levels
We all experience moments of stress, but there are many ways to relieve this stress. One of the most effective is play. Why? Because it’s fun!
Your body releases endorphins, otherwise known as the “feel-good” hormone, as a way to combat stress and pain. While there are many ways to boost the release of endorphins in your body, you can do this through play, laughter, and simply having fun.
Encourages Physical Activity
Play can encourage you to be more physically active than you would be without it. This could be as simple as walking down the hall of your care community to meet a friend for a game of cards. On the other hand, you could choose to participate in a community game or activity with a more physical element to it.
We all know that exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so why not use the power of play to help implement more physical activity into daily life?
Promotes Socialization and Improves Relationships
Not only can play provide you with more opportunities to socialize and connect with others, but it can also help you strengthen your current friendships and improve other relationships. According to HelpGuide, “sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others.”
Especially when you participate in activities and games that you enjoy, you will find like-minded individuals who enjoy the same types of activities as you.
Boosts Cognitive Functioning
A major part of promoting brain health is keeping the mind active and stimulated, but that does not mean it can’t be fun. For example, chess and other strategy games, as well as puzzles, can boost brain functioning, and you can have fun with friends and family while doing it!
A stick that a child finds in the woods is their sword. The floor in the living room is lava. The rug a kid is sitting on will transport them to a whole new world.
Play and imagination are powerful tools, especially when they are combined. What many interpret as children simply playing is actually them developing and learning important skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
When you play and use your imagination, you strengthen your ability to adapt to situations and learn how to better solve problems. This is especially true if you are playing with a group of people.
For example, improv 101 is, “yes, and…” This means that when you are improvising a scene with someone else, you go along with whatever they said and then add to it. What makes this so challenging is that you could have an idea of how you want the scene to play out, but you cannot control what the other people say or do. All you can do is use your imagination and creativity to play off their actions.
So, why is play important? In addition to the individual benefits that it provides, play is an essential part of improving overall health and wellness and maintaining an active lifestyle.
At Vivage, our holistic approach to care incorporates play into daily life. To learn more about our approach to care or find a Vivage community for you or someone you love, visit our website or contact a member of our team.