The school year has started and summer has come to an end, but we can still hold onto the energy that summer gives all us by keeping play in our day. The season may be changing, but participating in activities which make us happy helps to support our overall health and well-being.

Play is a powerful promoter of family health and well-being. Physical activity is often perceived as athletics, exercise or “working out.” Experts agree that play can be embraced by family members of all ages. When we are overscheduled and stressed, we can become programmed to think in terms of achievements, instead of embracing play as vital part of life.

Families can develop stronger bonds when they share common experiences. Physical activity is a positive experience that families can share as they improve their overall health. Children and parents who play in a physically active way are healthier and happier. Studies suggest playing just for the sake of movement and enjoyment and interaction, boosts self-esteem and builds healthy relationships.

Play for an hour a day. Just think of the many choices you have from walking to gardening, swimming with your children, shooting some hoops, or even taking your pet for a walk. To get 60 minutes of moderate activity throughout your day just add ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there.

As grown-ups, if we embrace health and well-being and the benefits of play, which includes increased energy levels, better concentration, increased family connectedness and stronger bodies, our children and other family members will join in the play.

Strong relationships are the cornerstone of health and well-being, and few relationships are as important as those between adults and children.

When it comes to helping children learn, grow and thrive the Naperville YMCA wants to support your time to play and provide opportunities for families to have fun together. Feel free to contact us or visit our website at www.fryymca.org to explore opportunities to put play in your day.