It’s no secret that healthy, energetic, engaged and creative people have the best careers. A foundational part of that is play.
Recently I had the opportunity to work on a KaBoom! playground build in my local community together with SAP Silicon Valley and Sharks Foundation. KaBoom! is dedicated to ensuring kids get the amount of active play they need and deserve. They believe that active play can help children develop skills such as collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.
This build came after a year of paperwork, planning and endless efforts from a community team. The build was the fun part. This was ‘play’ for me and the other 200 volunteers who turned the empty lot into a wonderland of fun. This experience made me really appreciate how and why play matters, not only for kids, but for adults and our careers as well.
1) You’re not going to get that new job from the hospital.
Being active helps prevent and manage a lot of health issues like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. When you play, your blood flows better, your good cholesterol goes up and the bad goes down, it lowers your body fat, and increases your hearts capacity. Play keeps you healthy.
2) Have the energy to work hard.
Regular play builds strength and endurance. It also keeps your heart and lungs running at their best to provide energy for those extra hours. Additionally, it can help you fall asleep faster and provide a deeper sleep to help you feel refreshed the next day.
3) De-stress and feel good.
Active play will give you a “runner’s high.” This is your body releasing endorphins, which are your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. You don’t have to be a runner -any physical activity will trigger them. When you’re focused on your play activity, the stressors and irritations of the day will seem less important or melt away.
Research suggests that being active may promote creativity and problem solving skills. Creativity is the heart of problem solving. In fact, LEGO Foundation CEO Randa Grob-Zakhary artfully describes the importance of creativity in society to tackle problems. So, being active can help us find creative solutions.
I returned to the playground after the build to watch it in use. The kids were having a great time. They were energetic; they were socializing; they were playing make-believe. And I have to believe that at the end of the day they slept well.
Play matters, so go and have some career enhancing fun.