By Tammy Toor
One of my family’s favourite things to do together is spend time in our parks. This last weekend we discovered a new playground in town and had a great time swaying in the swings, climbing the monkey bars and racing down the slides. It was so much fun, and it was a good reminder of how being active and ‘playing’ enhance our quality of life – not only for kids but for us as adults.
As children, play was one way we learned. It helped us to engage, explore and discover the world around us.
Tracy Stuart, recreation coordinator for the City of Nanaimo, says, “We often forget how important play is to a child’s healthy brain development, but time and time again, studies have shown that play helps them with speech and language abilities, social interaction while boosting cognitive development.”
As adults, our need to play does not diminish. We do, however, seem to make it a lower priority. After all, we have work obligations, bills to pay and commitments to fulfill.
We may not need to develop the same skills as children do through play, but recreation activities help to decrease stress, broaden our social circle and can make us healthier – both physically and emotionally.
Here are some ways to keep us playing no matter what our age:
u Start a walking challenge with friends and family. Wear a pedometer and see if you can all reach the daily goal of a minimum of 10,000 steps. Come up with some great prizes for the winner. Who doesn’t like a little fun competition?
u Participate in a new activity. The City of Nanaimo’s Play and Learn programs for the preschooler teach a variety of physical and cognitive skills through play. For everyone else, there is a variety of programs available, including dancing, cooking, arts, crafts, fitness, language and music – all of which help to keep our brains healthy. Learning new skills can lead to some great lifelong hobbies.
u Get outside and explore Nanaimo’s 1,400 hectares of protected open space and 170 kilometres of trails. Walk, bike, work out or play at the playground – just to name a few things.
The City of Nanaimo encourages you to ‘take a moment’ and play because it’s actually really good for you!
For more information on City of Nanaimo programs, please visit www.nanaimo.ca or call 250-756-5200.
Tammy Toor is a communications specialist with City of Nanaimo’s Parks, Recreation and Environment.