Never Leave the Playground is a program of activities that stimulates the growth of the brain and body by specific training of the hands and feet. My method has two goals: to promote good health and to have fun.
Scientific studies show that constant, consistent physical movement throughout our daily lives is the single most important thing to do to be physically healthier and smarter, regardless of age. Every cell in the body is affected by movement. The brain improves as we use our muscles, which, in turn, grow with use. Movement training can prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, the paralysis of MS and Parkinson’s, and delay the effects of aging since neural pathways open and increase as we learn new activities.
People believe exercise is strenuous, but my method is neither arduous nor boring. Instead, I focus on play and games, many similar to those children play on the playground. I begin with simple movements which progress to more complex challenges for the brain and body. For example, I train both left and right hands and feet to manipulate large and small objects with increasing precision. This promotes balance and dexterity which prevents falls and increases eye-hand coordination. The activities in my method develop the large and small muscle groups and foster stability and physical coordination.
Instead of sitting all day, then exercising feverishly for an hour or so, I encourage constant movement and play throughout the day coupled with periods of more intense movement like walking and running. Standing and balancing on one foot at a time while typing at your desk, pacing while on the phone, or sitting while playing with toys for the hands or feet – all are essential to age proof the mind and body.
We are born to move. For millions of years, our ancestors were hunter/gatherers. During those prehistoric times, they were constantly moving to survive: gathering food, hauling water, hunting game, etc., and they walked or ran an average of 8 to 10 miles every day. There was a direct relationship between movement and survival and good health. Imagine if ancient man was afforded the luxuries of modern medicine. Who knows how long they would have lived?
We no longer have to move to survive. We can go to our refrigerator to get food. Most of our lives are sedentary. We sit to drive, work, watch TV and movies, and play with our gadgets. By not moving, we become mentally and physically sluggish. Our creativity diminishes, and our bodies begin to die a little at a time through lack of use. Modern medicine works overtime to keep us healthy and negate the effects of inertia on the body and mind.
Puppies and kittens and children run around wildly chasing each other, tumbling, rolling, developing quick and agile movements. Children play jacks, hopscotch, jump rope, swing, slide, play running games and ballgames on their playgrounds, continually refining the speed and accuracy of hand and foot movements, stamina, and breathing – very important at any age in continuing the plasticity, growth and health of our brains as well.
Never Leave the Playground teaches the method of lifetime fitness through toys and play and games that can be played alone or with others of any age throughout our lives. By simply returning to the playground every day, your memory will improve, you will become more creative, and you will look forward to each new day with the excitement and vigor not experienced since you left the playground of your youth. It’s time to go back to the playground and never leave it again.
By Stephen Jepson
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