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Why Play Isn’t Just for Kids

Why Play Isn’t Just for Kids

Thank you to Janet Omstead, play and wellness expert, author, and coach, for providing this post. 

Nothing fills me with more joy than spreading the word on how play is a cornerstone of health, wellness and quality of life as we age. 

Recently I spoke with Education Talk Radio host Larry Jacobs on his show about why play isn’t just for kids and the social-emotional impact on students’ and teachers’ lives.  You can listen to the interview HERE. 

While I don’t think we forget how to play as we age, it becomes less of a priority because we juggle many more demands on our time.   We know why we should move our bodies. We have all heard of the benefits, and if exercise were a pill we could take, people would take it!  

Sadly, people see working out as something we HAVE to do; I see working out as something you GET to do, a magic pill that adds fun and joy to life.  

The reality as we age is that movement isn’t about the adage “no pain, no gain.” And COVID has made the case stronger than ever for being more proactive about your health.   


Burnout and depression have affected all age groups throughout the pandemic.  

A recent CNBC report stated that “Between December 2020 and July 2021, employees reported a 21% increase in burnout and 17% increase in physical symptoms of stress like muscle tension and fatigue, as well as added work-life balance challenges and overall job stress, according to a survey by the digital wellness company meQuilibrium.”. 

A solution? Incorporate play into your every day life. It isn’t just for kids. 

Play helps to boost our mental and physical health. I’m not saying that playing will solve the world’s mental health crisis – but I am saying that it won’t make it worse. 

Things like walking your dog, taking the stairs, parking your car further from the store, dancing in your kitchen…it ALL counts towards keeping well. One hundred and fifty minutes per week or just 20 minutes a day of heart-pumping movement is required to keep healthy.   Establishing your own “Habit of PLAY” can be simple if you approach exercise with a “get to” versus “have to” attitude.  

Kids don’t go outside and play to measure their heart rate. They have a curious mindset that helps them explore the world and find fun.   

People take themselves too seriously as they age. We are sold this idea that if you don’t go to the gym and workout for 60 minutes, you’re not going to be healthy. It’s just not true. 

The excellent news is PLAY doesn’t have to be done all at once. 

The perfect combination of getting those movement minutes done is entirely up to you.   One approach is to insert four, five-minute PLAY breaks throughout the day! They can each be different or all the same.   

Prioritizing the great outdoors is a great place to start. Did you know that spending 20 minutes playing in a park can make you happier!? 

Yup, you can read about it here.   Or get some chores done – vacuuming counts, and so does gardening! 

Whatever movement brings you joy, makes you sweat a little, and have fun! 

We need to get back to the playground, whatever that playground is for you. 

Play on! 

Your friend & coach, Jan xo