Everyone knows there are health benefits to physical activity, including better sleep, heightened resistance to disease and improved cognitive function. What you may not realize is that recreation extends those benefits by adding the element of fun. Play is important throughout our lives, though it takes different forms at age five than age 50. For adults, play is spending unstructured time doing any activity that has no goal other than pure enjoyment; think tossing a frisbee or playing charades. To enjoy rewards such as less stress and more creativity, weave more recreation into the fabric of your life.
Plan this year’s vacation around recreation. You may find the idea of cycling through the New England countryside or rafting the Colorado River too intimidating, but there are vacations that offer a balance of relaxation and recreation. Places like bald head island vacation rentals encourage physical activity, nature exploration and play. Cars are not allowed on the island, so bikes are the preferred mode of transport, as well as kayaking and swimming along the 14 miles of secluded beaches.
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Sign up for dance classes with your significant other or join a bowling league. Find a scavenger hunt app for your city and team up with friends to complete a quest. Start a new tradition with buddies like Saturday night charades. If you prefer alone time purchase a kite (try a stunt kite if you want to really challenge yourself) and head to a neighborhood park.
Park a good distance from the entrance to the store or your workplace and add an element of fun. With a nod to your younger days hop over lines, balance on curbs, skip. When you take the stairs, put in headphones and stomp out the beat as you climb. Walk your dogs or join them in the back yard for an energetic game of hide-and-seek or tag. No pets? Start a garden—it will get you outdoors and you may find it meditative to work the soil, water and weed. Bonus: at the end you get to enjoy a tasty harvest.