How play is medicine for the whole body

How play is medicine for the whole body

By Published On: April 15th, 2022

Did you know that play (exercise) is medicine?  

There’s a powerful connection between the mind and body. Play is nature’s therapy and is medicine for the whole body.

This week I was a guest on the “Your Guided Health Journey ~ Health is your true wealth” podcast, where the host, Melissa Deally, and I discussed this very topic: how play is medicine for the whole body. The episode will come out on May 14th.  

Health is probably the most significant thing people take for granted until something goes wrong.  

I’ve witnessed this firsthand recently with my husband’s journey through cancer treatment.  

Every doctor has prescribed movement (walking) as a fundamental way to manage the treatment. 

Most advice from the doctors is simple yet powerful: get up and move, eat and listen to your body. 

Some days that advice is easier to implement than others.

As one of the world’s top leadership experts (and Canadian) Robin Sharma so eloquently said, “doing something physical each day boosts brain function, fuels far higher energy levels, helps you manage stress more effectively, and keeps you in the game longer.”

I don’t know about you, but I want to play the long game!

There is an actual “exercise is medicine” global initiative to promote optimal health and prevention “managed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere and of all abilities.”*

Fact: Globally, one in four adults does not do enough exercise to keep healthy.**

Yet, “here’s the thing: The effort required to see physical and mental benefits is not herculean, nor does it require Spandex and shoes with swooshes. In fact, the very word “exercise” may be a stop word for many sedentary individuals.”***

Moving your body has so many benefits (and it’s NOT JUST for weight loss), and the data is fundamental:

  • Improves your mood
  • Boosts your memory
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Staves off a host of preventable diseases from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancers

So, when a medical professional refers a client to me to help coach them to achieve their goals, it’s often because of a big wake-up call.

We are used to fixing things, but those fixes are often not quick and require a longer-term strategy, and as a health coach, that’s where I come in.  

WHAT needs to happen is very clear – weight loss, exercise, better nutrition and managing stress.

I also find that most people have tried – it’s not like they haven’t already attempted ways to help themselves – join a gym, go on a diet – but life gets in the way.  

HOW to make a sustainable change is where the gap lies.

When I look at it from my play lens, exercise is the most natural form of medicine – it’s in my book and how I coach. We all need a daily dose of something. 

Why not make it, PLAY?

It’s NOT about fitting into a dress for your high school reunion or looking your best on a beach vacation! 

It IS about how you can achieve a manageable and sustainable change that lasts a lifetime.

Here’s the thing – there are no quick fixes.

We’ve been sold magic potions at the carnival for too long and keep buying them, and they don’t work.  

It comes down to how you form different habits that will lead you to better outcomes that will fit into your life – for life.

The secret is making small changes that are manageable over time in your movement, nutrition and managing stress. 

That is the key to success.

I’ve seen my husband make slow and steady progress in regaining his strength after his cancer treatment.  

Small doses of movement every day are compounding in his favour – just what the doctor ordered! 

Never stop playing!

Your friend and coach,



P.S.  If you found this article helpful, please share it and join my community for more news from the playground.




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About the Author: Janet Omstead

To re-ignite people’s passion for play (movement) to fight chronic disease while improving their quality of life as they age.

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