Friday, June 13, 2008

Get Up and Play

Have you noticed the US Dept. of Health and Human Services new message, “Get Up and Play an Hour a Day?” It isn’t just for kids; adults and teenagers need more play in our lives, too.

A Shrek and Donkey video created by DreamWorks and hosted by the Ad Council is run as a public service ad on TV. In it, Shrek and Donkey drag kids from the TV and take them to a playground to enjoy monkey bars, swings, and the slide. View it here:

But what about adult play? I’m designing a class for the Issaquah Senior Center, so this subject is on my mind a lot lately. My ideas include a hula hoop contest, a beach ball game, musical chairs (hopefully that doesn’t look like tackle football), follow the leader, and an obstacle course.

Of course, undulation is play that you can build right into your day without the awkwardness of interrupting elementary school students at recess or toddlers at the local park. Fun undulation exercises like Swing that you can do on a chair, Snake that lubricates your spine as you inch along the ground, and Spirals that work the kinks out of your back.

Try Sideways Roll to remind you of the joy of rolling down a hill. You can view a short video of Sideways Roll here. (It takes up to a minute for the file to load once you've clicked the link.)

One of the benefits of play is variety; you go from the swings to the monkey bars to the slide and back again. That’s even more important for adults who are usually stuck in a repetitive job, whether that’s at a desk or computer for hours a day or driving the kids between a million activities.

Variety is the purpose of undulation. You can follow along with the audio for Mermaid, which is sure to bring a smile to your face as it swirls the stiffness out of your spine. (Again, it can take up to a minute to load.)

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