Never Stop Playing: An appeal to spend more time with less purpose

TDB Fitness Newsletter 1/16/2022

In my teacher training I learned about the importance of play for growing brains. In this week’s newsletter, I argue play is important for all people, regardless of their age.

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

The case for more play

“Those animals that have the largest brain, and the most to learn, are the ones we find play the most.”

Peter Gray

How often do you play? You can find many definitions of “play,” but in general it means doing something for the sake of doing it. Not worrying about a purpose or a product; engaging in a process or activity for no other purpose than exploration and joy.

The quote at the beginning of this post came from a Ted Talk by Dr. Peter Gray, an evolutionary biologist. Through his research he concludes play is the way children develop skills like resiliency, curiosity, healthy risk-taking, and interpersonal skills. From an educational psychology perspective, play is the best way for children to learn the critical thinking skills that transfer across disciplines and subjects. And I’m here to argue, that play is important for everyone regardless of age.

Throughout the 20th century, rapid globalization upped the ante in regards to economic competition, and education became the scapegoat for keeping capitalism afloat. As a society, we systematically stripped children from their ability to play in school. To the point where it has become standard in many places for students to start having homework as early as first grade. Now as an adult, how often do you bring work home with you?

In Dr. Gray’s study, he found play-deprived mammals to be more anxious in both social and generally unfamiliar settings than those who were allowed to play. It therefore makes sense that, as adults, anxiety runs rampant through our society. We’re entering year 3 of an international pandemic and economic crisis. And none of us know how to play anymore.

In other words, when all of our time is dominated by production – we get stressed. Too many adults I know work such demanding jobs, they are programmed to feel guilty when they don’t have “something productive” to do.

I question this mentality. Why do we have to be constantly productive? No matter how many “to do” lists we cross off, there will always be another one waiting. So what will happen if you don’t cross off that list today? What is the worst case scenario if you push off those errands for a day, and allow yourself to play?

Not everyone can afford to play all the time, that’s life. However, allowing yourself any time and space to play at all can help you manage your stress levels, improve your brain functions (like memory), stimulate your mind so it can be productive later, and improve your relationships. So why not play some more?

Team Announcements

NEW VIRTUAL WORKOUT SCHEDULE

Vinnie and I reexamined some of our goals for TDBFitness! We’ve decided to try out a new schedule for LIVE virtual workouts. We will post a link to LIVE virtual workout in the private Facebook Group as usual, 5 days a week at 10:30a EDT/EST. Those lives will take place every morning Monday through Friday. This will leave Saturdays open to create opportunities for events and in-person workout classes.

COVID UPDATE

As of 1/13/22, both Vinnie and I are Covid negative! We’re both feeling almost back to normal and are looking forward to resuming programming as usual this week.

RENEA TAKES OVER

In 2022, you’ll be spending your Wednesday mornings with Renea. Your Wednesday workout will now be a 30 minute core/mobility fusion flow. Looking forward to hitting the mat with you!

5 thoughts on “Never Stop Playing: An appeal to spend more time with less purpose

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