The Benefits of Activity

Enjoy Your Life MORE

The Dictionary defines activity as “the state of being active; action; liveliness; energy, a particular action or sphere of action; meaningful involvement in life interests.”  The National Therapeutic Recreation Organization’s philosophy states that research has addressed the value of activity involvement in human development, social and family relationships, and in general, as an important aspect of the quality of life. “An important aspect of the quality of life,” did you hear that?  Staying active is important! Think about what makes you, you. The decisions and actions that you make, what to wear, what to eat, what to read, what to do, where to travel, who to see, what to watch on television, where to worship, when to exercise, what music to listen to…these are the activities of your life, it is who you are. But, if you stop these interests, what would your life would be like?  What would it do to your body, to your brain, to your soul?

Written by an unknown author, Recreation’s purpose is not to kill time, but to make life, not to keep a person occupied, but to keep them refreshed; not to offer an escape from life, but to provide a discovery of life. Activities help you to discover and re-discover life. We all know that exercise keeps the body strong, improves the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems, but it also improves cognition as it carries the oxygen through your body to your brain. What about laughter?  Did you know that laughter, whether real or fake, produces endorphins and increases the serotonin levels in your body which reduces stress?  So make it a point to watch a weekly television comedy, or a video with laughing babies or funny animals, you could even find a Laughter Yoga class to take. Laughter Yoga?  Yes…try something new!

Did you know performing new activities builds new pathways in your brain?  It is called brain plasticity. Completing crossword puzzles every day is wonderful, but your brain knows how to do that, try something new. Learn how to do Sudoku, learn a new language, brush your teeth with your opposite hand, learn a new hobby…make your brain work, do something new!  There is a wonderful store named “Marbles, The Brain Store” that categorizes their games into the “Big Five” working the five major areas of the brain. Games are accessible to try, trivia books are available to give your brain a workout, and there is researched information to keep your mind, body and spirit healthy.

Every single activity you do has a purpose. Whether it is physical, spiritual, emotional, social or cognitive, activities motivate your life. Take a moment and think about how your activities make you feel. Do your experiences allow you to be creative, relaxed, fulfilled, expressive, happy, useful, satisfied, less lonely, valued, or did it develop a new skill and improve your self-esteem or keep you social?  These are only some of the benefits of activities. To remain healthy, involve yourself in life, and KEEP ACTIVE!

Sandy Mavros, writing for Lutheran Home is a Lutheran Life Community, located in Arlington Heights, dedicaated to empowering vibrant, grace-filled living across all generations.