Time to Play
Look at how children move when they play: almost universally (assuming the adults around them don’t intervene and impose restrictions on their natural instincts to play) they run, jump, climb, crawl and they do these things at every given opportunity, exploring their space and learning what their bodies can do. The movements of play are holistic, complex-dynamic, non-linear, instinctive and adaptive. They don’t play by repeating isolated patterns over and over. They don’t play by deconstructing movement into its component parts. They don’t obsess about ‘alignment’ or ‘core strength’. And yet the kids who are allowed to explore their physicality naturally and broadly tend to develop healthily, athletically and with general physical competence. They are excellent movers.
And that should be a clue to us as to how we are meant to be moving as adults – or at least what we should be capable of doing.
Play is an evolutionary indicator of the optimal movement patterns of any species, precisely because the primary function of play is learning. So making time to play is something worth getting serious about. Dust off those hobbies and pursuits you used to be so passionate about and give them some air; let them resonate with you again and you might find you are reminded of important truths you let fall away long ago in the rush and persistent demands of a modern working life.
Of course, work – that time we commit to pursuing our calling (which can also be our chosen form of play!) – is just as important, and the key is to create a balanced lifestyle which provides enough time for both work and play, so that you can bring 100% of your being to each pursuit.
Further, play will also help refresh your mental processes, giving your mind a much-needed break from daily routines that can become all too monotonous and repetitive, slowly eating away at your resolve and enthusiasm for life. Play a little each day and you’ll find your energy levels increase, your mental acuity improve (especially if it’s movement-based, demonstrated to increase brain function and brain cell production) and your appetite for life restored.
That has to be worth finding time in the schedule for?
– Dan Edwardes