We strive to be healthy and crave connections with others. Still, barriers such as long working hours, busy schedules, and technology often keep us inactive and, in some cases, feeling isolated. I have a simple solution that people have access to every day that can reverse this pattern.

Why not consider setting up an adult play date?

As Plato so famously said, “you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

To find what kind of play works for you, tap into what you liked to do as a kid. Pick an activity that gets you moving in a way that brings you joy. Then do that activity from as little as five minutes a day, if you’re starting out, up to the recommended 22 minutes a day, or 150 minutes per week. Some clients of mine have rediscovered things like dancing, swimming, walking, and even tai chi. Heck, even hide and seek can do the trick!  Here are three ideas you can use right now:

  1. Too icy and snowy outside? Take a walk with a friend inside a local mall and window shop for ideas for the holidays. Add a simple challenge while you are there, such as walking up the stairs instead of taking the escalator.
  1. Join a class at your local community center and try a new activity from aqua fit to stretch class – the possibilities are endless
  1. At the office, make your meetings walking meetings so that everyone gets a chance to move, which can improve creativity and team building.

The magic of playing does tremendous things like making your hormones hum, which improves your energy balance and allows the brain to function optimally. Moving the body while having fun puts you in a better mood, makes food taste great and fires up your feeling of being truly alive.

There are times in my life when I’ve been in less good shape, or too busy to move my body, and I find my emotions start to suffer – less patience, increased fatigue, and reduced joy. Have you ever felt this way? As a result, it becomes easier to suppress these emotions with unhealthy food, maybe turn to drugs or alcohol – it’s an unpleasant spiral.

Playing acts like a layer of armor to keep all those emotions balanced because it produces natural happiness in the body. When you’re happy, you’re more likely to want to contribute to the world positively. This positivity can show up by wanting to help others, socialize more, or be a positive role model to your friends and family. And because we’ve moved our bodies, this positive mindset makes us able to manage the ups and downs of life that are thrown at us all the time.

I genuinely believe that the more fit we are in the body, the more fit our minds and spirits will be to be able to embrace change and connections with each other. The best way to accomplish this – get out and play.