Play Reduces Stress and Slows Aging

Games are not just for kids anymore. More and more people over the age of 50 are venturing online to play games. People are hopping on the Internet to play for a multitude of reasons—to have fun, exercise their minds, relax, and connect with friends and family.

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests regular stimulation of the brain is a key element in preventing memory loss and alleviating diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. In fact, a recent study by The Alzheimer’s Association concluded that “mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and may even create new nerve cells.” Play should be considered as an essential part of our daily lives because it is a doorway to learning, exercise, and brain stimulation.

Playtime is not simply a luxury as was once thought. It is rather an integral part of the natural rhythm of life and an essential element of our mental and physical well being.

Research shows chronic stress can cause memory problems, aggression, pessimism, anxiety, depression, anger, a loss of productivity, and a lack of creativity. Stress is the driver for most diseases, causing heart disease, cancer, obesity, strokes, insomnia, premature aging, and much more.

Benefits of Play

The benefits of play and laughter in overcoming and preventing stress, aging, and disease are numerous. Studies show that play and laughter lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, increase muscle flexion, and boost immune function. Listed below are just a few playful tips to help prevent stress in your life.

7 Play Tips That Prevent Stress 
  • Revive your rhythm. Energetic, happy music can stimulate physical responses, such as increased heart rates and respiration resulting in an increase of energy.
  • Comedy club. Play CDs, DVDs, or go online to visit your favorite comedian or funny Website. Laughter can increase your artery diameter by 22 percent and boost your immune system. Some call it “internal jogging!”
  • Express gratitude. Smile while alone and be grateful for something in your life. It is physiologically impossible to experience stress and gratitude at the same time.
  • Share a meal. Don’t eat alone at your home or office. Meet a friend for lunch to share a laugh or story.
  • Reach out and touch someone. Call or email a friend with a playful joke or picture when you are stressed.
  • Own a toy chest. Keep a drawer or box nearby with playful toys, so that when you are stressed you can shoot a basket, bounce a ball, or play jacks.
  • Play an online game. Sit and enjoy an online game for a few minutes to relax and refresh your mind.

No matter how you choose to express your playful side, be sure to do it! You will feel better physically and mentally. In fact, everyone around you will notice the difference, and your example might even rub off on them.