The opportunity to be playful and take part in activities we enjoy is something most of us see as a luxury to be saved for after all the important tasks have been completed, but playing around is actually an important health promoting activity.
Today’s society places a great deal of value upon the notion of being busy, having a packed schedule, taking part goal-driven tasks, and constantly having an unending list of things to get done. Along with this fact, we see a significant devaluation of activities and interests that do not necessarily result in tangible or objectively productive outcomes. What is important to understand amid these common ideologies and systems of valuation, however, is the reality that playfulness is meaningful and beneficial in its own important and unique ways that make it valuable for people of all ages, including seniors, to prioritize being playful and make having fun a regular and dependable aspect of their lives.
What Constitutes Play?
‘Play’ can be characterized in many different ways, and every person will likely have their own unique and personal understanding of what activities count as playful within the context of their own lives. The essential idea that is part of all understandings of play is that playfulness is the spirit that is involved when we take part in activities for no reason other than to experience the joy that they provide, rather than with the goal of achieving a particularly productive outcome. Any activity that is performed solely for enjoyment and fun without any other purpose is a playful one.
The Values of Playfulness
There are so many wonderful benefits that seniors’ can get from exploring themselves, their relationships, and their surroundings through playfulness. The happy, carefree, imaginative, and creative state of mind that is involved in being playful can have immense impacts. Mental and physical health can both be improved through taking part in play. The following is a list of ways in which seniors’ can benefit from taking part in fun, play-oriented activities:
- Stimulates Imagination
- Relieves Tension
- Lowers Stress
- Keeps the Brain Active
- Improves Mood
- Works the Cardiovascular System
- Stimulates Critical Thinking
- Boosts Immune System
- Boosts Creativity
- Helps Build Relationships
- Improves Cognitive Function
- Creates Feelings of Happiness and Relaxation
- Reduces Memory-Loss
- Lowers Blood Pressure
Playfulness can take many shapes and can be fitted into seniors’ lives in many ways that can meet any set of interests, levels of ability, states of health, or personal circumstances. Playfulness can take place alone, or can be a social activity that helps seniors build meaningful social connections, opening them up to new opportunities. Each new day can involve exploration of new forms of playfulness through new activities and relationships. As seniors continue to grow older and their physical and cognitive abilities continue to undergo associated changes, the forms that play takes can also evolve to better attend to those changes. Playfulness, in its many forms, can help seniors keep high spirits and remain emotionally, socially, and physically engaged in their lives in important ways. There will always be ways to have fun that are accessible, enjoyable, and sustainable for seniors in Kingston.