Mark Sisson Ancestral Health Symposium, 2011 The Lost Art of Play
A Meta Analysis of Double-Blind Studies on Effects of Random, Purposeless Neuromuscular Activity on Neural and Psychosocial Development in Homo Sapiens Throughout Evolutionary History: Survey Matrix of the Practical Significance of Numerous Dependent Variables RPNA Matrices
Conclusion: Play is Great!
3-5 hours procuring food
3 hours habitat/shelter/basic needs
10 hours sleep/rest
6 hours leisure time = play (P.E., music, art)
Grok Was a Beach Bum!
What is Play?
“ By definition, play is purposeless and all-consuming. And, most important, it’s fun.”
“ Life without play is a grinding, mechanical existence organized around doing the things necessary for survival.”
- Stuart Brown, MD
Author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and
Invigorates the Soul
Develop Emotional Intelligence
Foster creativity & problem-solving
Discover innate talents & passions
Improve mental health/stress management
Nurture lifelong capacity for “flexibility, novelty and exploration”
Experiment with risk and safely explore boundaries
Why Engage in “ Apparently Purposeless Behavior”?
School curriculum - “back to basics”: Cut P.E, Music, Art
Conventional Wisdom: Play is frivolous, unproductive, luxury item
American Dream: Struggle, accomplish, consume material things
Today: Systematic Cultural Elimination of Play Cuts in Art, Music, Athletic Programs Leave Sour Note in Schools ARTS Arts programs affected by MCCSC budget cuts PHYS ED CUTS MAY LEAVE CHILDREN'S HEALTH BEHIND Sunday, November 20, 2005 HOT TOPICS Music leaders fear school budget cuts Americans: Overworked, Overstressed
We are deeply unsatisfied with more and more, because we are evolved for another lifeway in which material goods do not matter. It seems like our genes don’t know what to make of all our “stuff.” - Art De Vany, Ph.D. American Dream... Or Nightmare?
Pickin’ daisies (during the game!)
Rough and tumble is okay
Getting dirty (improves immune function!)
Natural Playful Childhood
Adult-supervised, overscheduled, risk-managed life
C ompetition, regimentation, anti-bacterial wipes, carpools, play “dates”
80% pedestrian to 8% in one generation
Jungle gym: extinction of last link to genetic heritage!
Innocence Squelched By Rat Race
Enduring Endurance Sports
Struggle and Suffer = Success
Play? Too risky, unproductive, pointless
Epiphany: “Having fun yet?”
Traded health for a 2:18!
Play Can be Subjective… Like “Playing” Golf
Career success – buddies – nature = FUN!
Slow foursomes – “wasting time”
Misplaced competitive intensity
Epiphany: “Having fun yet?”
Golf Can Be Fun!
Play Deficiency: Dire Consequences
Social, emotional and cognitive narrowing
Increased stress, depression, violence
Stereotyped, inflexible, humorless
Life without irony, diminished capacity for optimism
- Stuart Brown, M.D.
Play Benefits Brain
Cerebellum and frontal cortex size
Total brain development
Play Benefits Career
Open, creative, process-oriented mindset = more resilient
Adaptable to change = modern economy
Playful spirit, positive attitude, emotional awareness = team player
Play Provides Balance
Vs Sedentary bodies
Vs Linear brains
Vs Regulated emotions
Vs Fragile self-esteem
Be Here Now. Play Keeps You in the Moment
Releasing Attachment to Outcome – The Play Portal
Play is Anti-aging
Centenarians top longevity secrets:
Go with the flow
Preserve youthful spirit
It’s All About Movement… Not About Calories Burned
What Is Play For You?
Subjective: fill your personal void
Outdoor unstructured physical activity?
Competition okay if you release attachment
Abandon ego and self-consciousness
Follow pets or kids – get silly
Mini-work breaks: 5-10 minutes (hacky sack, trash can hoops)
Grand weekend outings: hike, rock climb, standup paddle