We spend a lot of time in our Iives doing very serious, earnest activities. We work, we work out, we work on our weak spots. Work, work, work. Now work is a fine thing and is good and productive for all of us but sometimes, it seems like we may have lost the ability to play.Play is, at its heart, a time to improve yourself at many skills in a relaxing way. Juggling, video games, a kick around at the park are all fun ways to get better and improve yourself in a fashion that is relaxing and perhaps more enjoyable than other self improvement methods!Here at PWG, we are strong advocates of playing! Without enjoyment, life can be a hard grind that can become a tough psychological challenge.
Physically, playing is probably one of the best things you can do for your body. Jumping around, playing with the kids and messing around in the pool all give you better coordination, muscular adjustment and balance. Obviously, slack lining or juggling won’t get your body ludicrously fit on its own but they do add great gains in balance, coordination and mind-body awareness. These are things that will add to your physical and mental health, as well as making you happier and more productive during your “work” periods!
One thing that you can see a lot are people playing on physio balls at the gym; rolling around, spinning on them or just generally being a bit silly. There isn’t anything wrong with this, just so long as they aren’t being dangerous. Playing around like this and practising small motor conditioning skills is vital for when they may have to engage in more meaningful physical activity such as hardcore exercise or even something like helping someone move some furniture!
Interestingly, the physio ball was actually developed by physio’s working with children suffering from Polio. When the children laid on their bellies, and were made to feel like they were falling, their bodies automatically flinched to try and right themselves. The physios originally thought this was improving tone and balance but quickly decided that these righting reactions weren’t useful in creating better movement quality, so the ball was eventually abandoned. The physio ball isn’t employed as a serious training tool anywhere that actually works with top level athletes, unless it’s filled with something heavy and you are holding it above your head. Is there value working on balance through play then? Absolutely! You can always hold a wobbly bar or object over your head while you are on a stable surface, which has much more value and is more relatable for most people!
There is value in running around and getting your motor skills fine tuned. There is value in relaxing and enjoying what you are doing. There is value in practising something. There is value in spending time with friends. All these things can be tackled by play. So go out, play some more and get yourself in better condition to be an athlete, fit person or just simply happier!