Time for our Workout Of The Month. Each month we take a look at something fitness related and break it down in a way that you can understand it so that you can apply it to your life. Some times we take a look at a specific workout and break it down – other times we’ll take a look at the latest fitness research and separate fact from fiction. This month I want to talk to you about something we as adults should all do a little bit more of: play.

Playtime Isn’t Just For Kids – Adults Can Play Too

I want to talk about the importance of getting out and playing as an adult. It’s something that we honestly don’t do enough of but there are a plethora of health benefits of play. Sometimes the idea of fitness can become so rigid and routine especially when a strict training regimen is in place. Really, how monotonous is it to just go to a gym every single day and lift weights or run on a treadmill? Also, what good does it do our body if we can lift or pull a bunch of weight but can’t spend an hour having fun with a bunch of other people? Although there are benefits to group play, play doesn’t necessarily have to involve people. Getting outside isn’t necessary a mandatory requirement, but it would be preferred.

Benefits Of Adult Play

1. Socialization

Like it or not, as a species, we’re made to have interactions with other people. Doing some sort of activity with other people such as playing basketball, throwing catch with a football, or going for a hike (no, beer pong doesn’t count) can help raise our mood just by the fact that we’re involving other people.

2. Getting In Touch With Ourselves

Play can involve only ourselves. Whether it’s shooting hoops by ourselves, going surfing, or going for a hike. The difference in activity can trigger the pleasure centers in our brain and raise our mood. In the case of activities where nature is involved, play can be an opportunity to meditate, think about life, and take an introspective look at ourselves.

3. Different Planes Of Movement

Doing the same types of exercises in the gym each day can lead to repetitive motion injuries. It can also create strong muscles while other muscles that aren’t used often begin to weaken over time. When we do different activities different muscles are used that normally wouldn’t get a workout.

4. Play Raises Your Heart Rate

The human body tries to function as efficiently as possible. This means that the more you do of one type of exercise the better your conditioning levels become. Trying a different type of activity that the body isn’t used to can really help to give your body a type of exercise that it’s normally not used to and in turn, burn more calories.

5. Sometimes We Don’t Need A Workout

Sometimes there is not a reason to go to the gym to lift weights for the fourth day in a row. The body needs healing so that muscles don’t become overworked. That being said, play can help loosen up the body and joints and bring blood and nutrients to places in the body that could benefit rather than a day of just lounging around.

6. It’s Fun!

Seriously. When is the last time you took a moment to go do some sort of activity that we used to do when we were younger? Dodgeball? Throwing a football? Shooting hoops? Take a moment to go out and play. You’ll come back with a big smile on your face and forget about the stress of being an adult.

Reader question: When was the last time you got out to play? What are your favorite activities of adult play?