Playgrounds are for big kids, too

Recess offers health benefits for all ages

Yipee! Taking a swing can be a great stress reliever. Mark Reimer

Remember being a kid and always looking forward to recess?

You and your friends would spend time in the morning picking soccer teams, so when you got outside, not a second would be wasted.

The anticipation of playing on that awesome play structure with the cool monkey bars or just running around with your friends on your translucent steeds would kill you inside. And one of the only reasons you would complete your work was so that you wouldn’t have to do it during recess.

“The kids love to go outside and continue whatever game they have started,” rural elementary teacher Mrs. Bento said.” They just love to have fun.”

The weather would never stop you. It could never be too cold, too hot, or too wet (we all know how fun mud is). The only thing that could put a stop to your fun was the principal’s voice informing the school that it was going to be an “indoor recess.” This is still the case in many schools.

“The boys are obviously upset when they hear that, but as the girls get older, they seem to slowly lose interest in going outside,” said Bento.

Most adults live their lives in “indoor recess,” which could explain why many people are uptight and stressed out. We try to unwind by sitting in small, cramped rooms where we drink copious amounts of coffee with co-workers that we are supposed to like (but sometimes don’t).

“I’m not really sure why adults don’t celebrate their breaks like a recess, though some do go for walks,” said Bento. “Usually people go only outside to either supervise recess, to buy food or to have a cigarette.”

This scene would instantly change if we took advantage of our breaks by playing games and keeping active. Even playing a game or going for a walk would really clear your mind which in turn would help you work better.

At schools, we allow our children to get out of their working environment to exert energy and have fun. Recess helps kids interact with each other and learn things that can’t be found in a math book. It’s a place where teambuilding begins and new friendships are made.

Why not do the same at work?

It doesn’t have to start on an everyday basis but after trying it once, it just may. Start by doing something fun every Friday during lunch that does not involve eating fast food.

Get a plastic bowling set and use it in the hallway. Steal your kid’s hula-hoops and have a lunch time tournament. Even setting up a relay race with a few chairs and potato sacks will lead to fun, high-fives and smiling faces.

Kids need recess and take advantage of it. Adults need recess but they don’t know it. The world is a playground and everyone needs to enjoy recess, no matter what your age.

Published in Volume 63, Number 26 of The Uniter (April 2, 2009)

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